Labour Unveils ‘Indefinite Tenancies’ Plan

Labour Unveils Indefinite Tenancies Plan
Labour has unveiled plans that would see indefinite tenancies being introduced should they be returned to government.

John Healey, the shadow housing secretary, says the German-style tenancies would help protect renters from being evicted.

He said that in England, private tenants can be evicted for no reason and landlords currently end one in five tenancies.

Mr Healey also says that many tenants are ‘too scared’ to report any problems they have with their home ‘in fear they might lose it’.

He added: “The security of renting is a power imbalance which lies at the heart of a broken housing market.”

Average tenancy in England lasts four years

Labour figures also reveal that while the average tenancy in England lasts four years, in Germany the average length is 11 years.

The party also says that longer tenancies will act as a brake on potential rent increases since many landlords use the changeover of tenants as an opportunity to put up rents.

The move has been welcomed by the housing charity Shelter who say the government should follow suit.

A spokesman for Shelter said: “Private rents are expensive already and when you add short-term contracts into the mix, then the situation for tenants is pretty tough.

“And since one in four families are now privately renting their home means an alarming number of people are at the mercy of being subjected to a no-fault eviction.”

He added that a family can be told to leave a property for no reason and at any time to face the burden of uprooting their lives and incurring moving costs.

The move by Labour follows their commitment in the 2017 General Election for default three-year tenancies to be introduced.

Labour shows a misunderstanding of the private rental sector

However, the National Landlords’ Association (NLA) says that Labour’s plan for indefinite tenancies shows a misunderstanding of the private rental sector.

The NLA says that there are regulations in place to help provide a tenant with a safe home and it’s the lack of enforcement by local authorities that enables criminal landlords to act with impunity.

The NLA’s policy and public affairs manager, Meera Chindooroy, said: “Labour’s proposal to adopt the German-style of private renting shows their fundamental misunderstanding of the market.

“Not only have rents dramatically increased across Germany in the last 10 years, but the nature of renting is very different. Almost all rental homes are let unfurnished and tenants are responsible, usually, for installing basic amenities, including kitchens, which means they need to make a long-term investment of their money.”

She added: “We agree that the process to regain possession by landlords where the tenant is at fault is in urgent need of reform, but the English Housing Survey last year showed that 90% of tenants who moved in the previous three years had chosen to do so.”

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