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Labour set to introduce indefinite tenancies

Thursday 28 March 2019

The plan, announced by the Shadow Housing Secretary, John Healey, would seek to protect tenants from arbitrary eviction without having to give a reason. They would oblige private landlords to offer tenancies of indefinite length, which is based on the German system.

The Party claims the change will revolutionise the private rental market, hailing it as the answer to fixing what Healey described as a “broken housing market”, by offering renters greater security and acting as a brake on rent increases.

Under the German system, tenancies are effectively open-ended with a tenant only able to be evicted on tightly defined grounds, for example if they don’t pay the rent or commit criminal behaviour in the property.

However, Labour's approach is not too dissimilar to the Scottish private residential tenancy (PRT), which is also indefinite unless one of the 18 grounds for eviction is met.

Tenants themselves are still able to choose to leave the property after a period of notice.

John Healey, Shadow Housing Secretary 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.”

Consultations

Last summer, ARLA Propertymark responded to the Governments consultation on Overcoming the Barriers to Longer Tenancies in the Private Rented Sector, where we set out our objections to long term tenancies, citing minimal demand from renters and a lack of flexibility. And whilst tenants want to stay in property long term, our June 2018 Private Rented Sector Report found they do not want to sign long tenancy agreements.

The Labour Party has announced it will consult with landlord and tenant groups on the "proper grounds for termination of a tenancy" ahead of the next General Election. The Party has previously set out additional measures for controls on rents and tougher standards which it says will sit alongside this proposal.