Labour would introduce indefinite tenancies for tenants
Labour has pledged to introduce indefinite tenancies to private renters, which landlords would be required to offer.
The shadow housing minister John Healey announced the plans that aim to protect tenants from arbitrary eviction.
The scheme is based on the German system where landlords are only allowed to evict tenants for reasons such as defaulting on rent or committing an offence in the property.
The latest proposal from Labour is a step up from the party’s 2017 election pledge that called for minimum three-year tenancies.
Labour said the scheme gives renters more security. In Germany private tenancies last on average 11 years, while in contrast the average tenancy in England is just four.
The party said the security indefinite tenancies provide would be particularly vital for the 1.6m households with dependent children in private rented accommodation.
Just under a fifth (18%) of tenancies are ended by the landlord or letting agent, according to a survey of private landlords in England in 2018.
Healey said: “People shouldn’t be living in fear of losing their homes. The insecurity of renting is a power imbalance at the heart of our broken housing market, where tenants are afraid to report problems in case they are evicted, and families with children are forced to move at short notice.
“Many landlords provide decent homes that tenants are happy with, but the government is allowing rogue landlords to take advantage of good tenants. Renters deserve better.”
The proposal was welcomed by the housing charity Shelter, which said the current system meant “an alarming number of people are at the mercy of no-fault evictions”.
Greg Beales, Shelter’s campaign director, said: “Private rents are already expensive, so when you add short-term contracts into the mix, the situation for renters is pretty tough. Right now a family can be turfed out for no reason at any time, and saddled with not only the cost of moving but the huge burden of uprooting their lives.
“It doesn’t have to be this way. We look forward to seeing what the government brings to the table on longer tenancies, and hope they will give renters the security and stability they deserve.”
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