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Mandatory three-year tenancies questioned by leading lettings agent

Belvoir reveals that just 18% of its tenants stay for more than two years, and wonders if more secure tenancies are really needed.

Nigel Lewis

The UK’s largest lettings agency Belvoir has set itself against all the mainstream political party manifestos and the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) by questioning the need for mandatory three-year tenancies.

The Conservative Party seeks to “encourage landlords to offer longer tenancies as standard” while Labour goes much further, saying it will “make three-year tenancies the norm with an inflation cap on rent rises”.

The Liberal Democrats advocate “longer tenancies of three years or more with an inflation-linked annual rent increase built in to give tenants security”.

But Belvoir’s latest lettings index shows that 43% of tenants who rent through its branches stay for between 13-18 months, 29% for between 19-24 months and only 18.2% for more than two years.

‘Question the need’

“Looking at the manifestos of all political parties it would seem that all are looking to introduce three-year mandatory tenancy agreements although [our] figures question the need for this as our tenants can already rent with confidence, and most opt to leave when they wish to do so,” Belvoir says.

But not all landlords agree with Belvoir’s point of view. As we reported last week, one of London’s largest Build to Rent landlords recently scrapped deposits for its 3,000 tenants as well as offering three-year tenancies.

And leading Liverpool agent Helen Griffin-Booth of Bluerow Homes (pictured, left), last week said the three political parties’ adoption of longer and more secure tenancies was “promising”.

“The manifestos also give leverage to the hope that the next five years will spell a continued increase in standards across the sector, and removing rogue landlords and agents from the market will play a key role in this,” she told a local newspaper.

“To achieve these standards, it is essential that landlords are offered support from the government in providing quality, affordable housing stock for PRS. This will not only benefit landlords and tenants, but will help to stabilise the property market as a whole, and offer a much-needed boost to the wider economy.”

David Cox, ARLA, imageHer view is also echoed by ARLA, whose MD David Cox (pictured, right) said earlier this year following the White Paper: “ARLA welcomes any attempt to improve stability in the housing market, and it is important that tenants feel that they are secure in their homes and are able to plan for the future.

“We welcome the Government’s approach to this, and have been working closely with the Department for Communities and Local Government on proposals for incentivising longer-term tenancies; after all, it is in the best interests of landlords, tenants and agents to have long, well maintained tenancies. It is a fallacy that a regular churn of tenants benefits anyone.”

June 5, 2017

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