Will wins pledge from Government to look into longer assured tenancies

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Will Quince has won a pledge from government to see what can be done to encourage landlords to offer longer assured tenancies.

The Colchester MP says current 12-month shorthold tenancies help cause homelessness and he has been campaigning for such tenancies to last longer and give tenants more security.

This week in parliament, he asked housing minister Gavin Barwell what steps the government had taken to ensure this, something that would help “thousands” of Colchester renters.

Mr Barwell replied: On 18 April, 20 leading members of the British Property Federation pledged to offer three-year tenancies in build-for-rent developments, and leading housing associations have made a similar pledge. We hope that will encourage a shift in the market towards more landlords offering longer tenancies.”

Mr Quince responded: “Thousands of renters in Colchester and across the country will welcome the news, but does the Minister agree that Landlords are only half the issue? In fact getting mortgage lenders, 50 per cent of which at the moment do not lend on more than a year’s assured shorthold tenancy, to change that policy will be the key to unlocking longer tenancies for the future.”

Mr Barwell further replied that Mr Quince was right to raise the issue of tenant security and that of lending.

“Since the Government introduced their model tenancy agreement, which has appropriate break clauses, there is no longer any impediment to landlord customers submitting longer tenancies. The majority now permit tenancies of up to three years.”

Mr Quince told the Gazette afterwards he has campaigned to extend the length of assured shorthold tenancies to give tenants more security regarding their accommodation. A government move to ban letting agency fees, which is at the consultation stage, will encourage this.

“The biggest cause of homelessness and homelessness applications is the end of a shorthold tenancy. I asked the minister if he could put pressure on landlords to give that security and also pressure on mortgage companies. He said it was something he would look into.”

The MP added it made sense for landlords to have long-term tenants but the biggest challenge was mortgage companies. Longer tenancies would create more security for tenants and reduce homeless numbers, creating a “win-win” for all.

Source: Daily Gazette