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    30th July 2021

    Overwhelming Majority of Tenants Want Long-Term Contracts

    A survey of more than a thousand UK tenants has found that 93% of respondents felt that there should be an increase in options to rent for longer than the standard twelve months as pandemic uncertainty drives a desire for stability.

    Build-to-rent firm Ascend Properties conducted the research which also found that tenants saw longer contracts as an opportunity to plan for the future, as a way to feel at home in rental properties and as an opportunity for security (18%, 22% and 32% of respondents respectively).

    Although longer tenancies can be agreed between tenant and landlord, the government reported (in 2018) that 81% of rental contracts were assured short-hold tenancies with a minimum fixed term of between 6 and 12 months. However, with the result of a 2018 consultation failing to reach any definitive result, things have been at a legislative standstill.

    The issue has not gone away, however, and it is likely that there will be further consultations introduced and legislative changes in line with a commitment to provide more secure and stable conditions to both landlords and tenants.

    The Managing Director of Ascend Properties had this to say on the survey’s outcome:

    The ability to rent the same home for a far longer period of time is an integral part of this lifestyle shift and it’s clear that it not only offers a greater sense of security but also the opportunity to lay strong roots within a particular area without having to opt for the route of homeownership.

    What this means for Wirral landlords

    As stated, there is no legal requirement for landlords to offer lengthier contracts to tenants, but what is interesting is that this study has seen a further shift from the 80% positive response to a similar question posed by the government in 2018. With proper contract support, it should therefore be possible for most landlords to improve their levels of income security by working with tenants to negotiate contract lengths that suit both parties.

    The government response to the initial consultation – which was given in 2019 – suggested that a 6-month break clause added to lengthier contracts would provide an excellent opportunity for landlords and tenants to come to their own conclusions on their relationships while landlords could be assured that, despite the end to no fault evictions, they could still take possession of their property for non-payment of rent and other egregious behaviour.

    As things stand, we’ve yet to see the full impact socially and economically of the pandemic – and there have been a host of changes in the rental markets across the UK. What we can hope for is that it may be possible to create a more equitable industry for both landlords and tenants, with added security for both parties.

    What this means for tenants

    With the Ascend and government surveys both finding that tenants want longer and more secure tenancies, what is left is for tenants to actively seek to negotiate such agreements with their landlords. At Wirral Homes, we find that the majority of landlord/tenant relationships remain positive throughout the tenancy and it makes sense for those tenants happy in a home to remain there and provide secure income for the landlord in turn.

    However, with some reluctance on the part of landlords to offer longer contracts, it will require the tenant to take the lead for now – and so we’d recommend that tenants who are happy with their agreement actively seek to discus extending contract terms with the landlord so that agreements can be reached which benefit both parties, improve security and decrease stress for everyone involved.

    If you’d like to discuss what can be done to help improve security for you and your tenants, Contact Us today to see how our experts can help to make managing your portfolio that little bit easier.

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