Tenant fee bill

'No three-year tenancies please' say tenants

Everyone wants a long-term tenant, who will sit tight in a property and love it as if it were their own, right?

Such is the dream of landlords and tenants alike, if we are to believe the politicians and press alike the push for three-year tenancies further cements this want for being able to put down long-term roots. However, a recent survey of tenants by insurance provider AXA suggests that this blanket desire for long-term agreements is not quite as cut-and-dried as we may have been led to believe…

The report shows that six out of ten renters (62%) want tenancies of 12 months or less, with many respondents happy with the current ‘industry standard’ of 12 months with a six-month break clause.

The response to the government’s proposed three -year minimum tenancy, offering more security to tenants in their rented homes, was not popular, instead people would prefer to opt for the flexibility of a shorter rental, and have the opportunity to accommodate significant life changes, without being tied into a lengthy legal agreement.

Half of the respondents surveyed anticipated making significant life changes in the upcoming year, changes that would have a serious impact on their housing. Changes included having a baby and moving in with a partner, whilst one in ten anticipated that they would be moving to a different part of the country, with a similar number expecting to move abroad in the next three years. The priority for most respondents was on the ability to move with life changes, and renting afforded them the ability to do just this. Whilst such transiency will not be high on the list for everyone, it is evident that for many, this is a significant benefit to being in the private rental market.

One of the most significant groups of tenants who are often noted as being keenest on long term tenancies are families with children. It is understandable that should you have young children enrolled in a local school, and a life around a certain area that stability in this location is of the upmost importance.

Long term tenancies offering stability and the opportunity to put down roots and integrate into a community should surely be of the paramount importance to this group of tenants? More so, but not to the level that the government are suggesting, according to the AXA research. The result from this group of respondents suggest that whilst more security is favoured by this group of tenants, their preferred tenancy length is two years, not three as proposed by the government. A quarter of family groups surveyed noted that they would be happy with a five or ten-year lease, as is favoured on the Continent, however, the overriding results were still erring on the side of flexibility.

So, the tenants have had their (slightly surprising) say. But what do you think? Is there a happy medium for tenants and landlords alike?

Let us know in the comments!

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