Long Term Tenancies: The Good and the BadWritten By PropertyLoop March 04, 2021
Over recent years, everyone from politicians to housing charities have called for landlords to increase the duration of their tenancies – often as a result of increased homelessness and the vast profits reaped from the Private Rental Sector. Plus, with an increased shift in attitudes towards private rentals over the years, tenants have begun to favour the flexibility of shorter tenancies advertised via an online property agent. Combined with many families as well as older tenants now making up a substantial part of the private rental sector, debate around the length of tenancies now abounds.
If you’re keen to weigh up the pros and cons of tenancies longer than 12 months, then why not have a read of our handy little guide below, on where the debate now sits.
Long Term Contracts: A Tenant’s View
There are no clear lines of indication here. Several studies have suggested that tenants want contracts longer than 12 months, though many also like the fact that they are not tied into a place for too long. Surveys of students carried out suggest that they were in favour of three-year tenancies to last the duration of their education as did many people who feel it complemented their jobs and lifestyles, without having to upend everything year after year. Similarly, renters who work freelance jobs or find employment within the gig economy often don’t like to be tied down to a place for too long.
What do the government say?
Key findings of a government survey in April 2019 on whether minimum three-year tenancies were of a benefit to landlords and to tenants revealed that:
- 81% of tenants would accept longer tenancies if they were offered
- 75% of landlords didn’t offer longer tenancies
- 12% of renters would have chosen a three year tenancy, if available
- 41% of tenants were in favour of 3-5 year tenancies
- 66% of landlords preferred 6-12 month tenancies
Long Term Tenancies: Pros and Cons for Landlords
The greatest benefit of a longterm tenancy for a landlord is the safety, security and peace of mind that the renters will be staying in one place for a long time, and that income from a property will be steady. Void periods are typically low, as is the stress (and cost) of finding new tenants.
There’s also the fact that when staying for a long time in one place, tenants will tend to treat it much more like a home than a place they’re crashing at for six months, maintaining a higher standard of living and treating the house with respect.
If things are going badly with tenants, this is where all of the trouble is likely to start. If a landlord is looking to regain possession of their property, the process could be a lengthy one. If they’ve not breached a contract yet still don’t treat the house with respect, you won’t have official grounds to evict them. When thinking on a bigger scale, longer tenancies could also cause a rental shortage within the private sector.
Long Term Tenancies: Pros and Cons for Tenants
There are also few clearcut answers to the question when it comes to tenants. For many, the fact that they will be staying in one place for an increased amount of time means they won’t have to go through the agonisingly time-consuming process of rehoming themselves and their family anytime soon. This can benefit students as well as those seeking access to good schools for their kids or doctors and dentists for the whole family. On the other hand, longer term tenancies may well be more complex, with the renter unaware of the myriad of clauses and subclauses involved.
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