Two-thirds of tenants report that they would like the opportunity to rent properties long-term and new rules could force landlords to allow longer term lets if requested by their tenants. This so called “tenants charter” would offer greater security to those families renting property, providing a more stable environment in which their children to live, allowing them to remain at the same school and maintain friendships. This is especially important owing to the increased number of families now renting since mortgage finance has become more difficult to obtain.Providing stability and reducing charges
Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary, said that the changes would provide renters with the confidence to request extended fixed-term tenancies, which are more compatible with family life, so not only is the government trying to help more people into their own homes, but is supporting those in the rental sector. The rules will also aim to protect tenants from unfair charges and the fees charged by letting agencies that they are especially affected by if they otherwise have to move regularly. The scheme will additionally work alongside existing measures to help identify questionable operators to alleviate the issue of unnecessary costs to tenants and ensure they receive a fair deal. Landlords will equally gain from longer tenancies though, as they offer greater financial security and reduce void periods.
Retirees also to benefit
However, it isn’t just families set to benefit from longer tenancies. A growing number of retired people are now living in rented accommodation as well. While accommodation in retirement communities is popular from a social point of view, with the added bonus of support services at hand and no maintenance required, many retirees are renting for another reason. Figures from Prudential the insurer show that around 40% of retired renters having sold their own home to free up income to either control their debts or provide additional income for retirement. With increasing numbers of older people considering rented accommodation for financial reasons, the chairman of Girlings – the biggest provider of lifetime tenancy properties for retired people in the UK – says that more homes that come with assured tenancies are needed if seniors are to have the security they need after giving up their own homes.
Enabling longer term lets
Most tenancy agreements last six to twelve months, as a lot of buy-to-let providers will not offer finance to landlords who plan to let for extended periods. However, the lender Nationwide has recognised the changing nature of the rental sector and now approves landlords with buy-to-let mortgages to enter into three year contracts with those renting from them. This is just one of the initiatives that Nationwide has adopted to help more people live in or maintain their own home.
By Amy Millband