Landlords meeting challenges of children in rented housing

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

INDEPENDENT figures show landlords are meeting the growing need for longer tenancies in private rented housing.

INDEPENDENT figures show landlords are meeting the growing need for longer tenancies in private rented housing.

It follows new Government figures out today showing that whilst the proportion of children in rental housing has increased, so has the average length of residence in such homes.

According to the English Housing Survey for 2014-15, over the past ten years the proportion of private rented households with dependent children has increased from 30% in 2004-05 to 37% in 2014-15.

Related to this is the trend for the average length of residence for private sector tenants in their homes increasing to 4 years. This is up from 3.5 years last year and a new 5 year high.

The survey notes again that those living in private rented housing for a longer period generally paid less rent.

The Residential Landlords Association today argues that these figures show that landlords are already stepping up to the plate and meeting the need for longer tenancies for families.

The Association is also pressing the Government to remove barriers to longer term tenancies, including restrictions imposed on landlords by lenders and by freeholders of leases.

Commenting, Alan Ward, Chairman of the RLA said:

“Today’s survey confirms what we have long known. Landlords do not spend their time looking for opportunities to evict a tenant. It’s time to end the scaremongering on this.

“More can be done to help landlords offer longer term tenancies without the need for compulsory three or five year tenancies. We are calling on the Government to use the Housing and Planning Bill to remove barriers preventing landlords from offering longer tenancies, including mortgage and leasehold conditions that may prevent this.”

“Notable increases in the average length of time tenants stay in a private rented property show the system already enables longer tenancies that so many are calling for. Landlords are already meeting tenants’ requirements and there is no need heavy handed legislation that would disrupt supply of badly-needed accommodation.”



• The RLA represents 40,000 private sector residential landlords in England and Wales.

• Further information about the RLA can be found at http://www.rla.org.uk/ or by following it on twitter @RLA_News.

• The English Housing Survey headline report for 2014-15 is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/501065/EHS_Headline_report_2014-15.pdf. It notes that:

– “In 2014-15, private renters had been in their current home for an average of 4 years”, this is up from 2.5 years in 2013-14 and up from 3.7 years in 2010-11.

– “In general, those who had lived in their home for longer paid less rent. Private renters that had lived in their current home for less than a year paid an average weekly rent of £192 compared with £168 for residents of 5-9 years and £120 for residents of 20 or more years.”

– “Over the last 10 years, the proportion of households in the private rented sector with dependent children increased from 30% in 2004-05 to 37% in 2014-15. With considerable growth in the overall number of private renters over this period, this seven percentage point increase equates to about 912,000 more households with children in the private rented sector.”

• Data compiled for the RLA by DJS Research, based on a survey of over 1,500 landlords, found that 25% were not allowed to agree tenancies longer than a year by their mortgage lenders or insurers. Of this group, 43% would offer tenancies of longer than a year if they were allowed.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.


  • A good one to raise – well done RLA – though I still think your quotes need to be a bit more “sound-bite” so that we get the kind of coverage that Generation Rent and Shelter rely on.

    Another point: if 3 or 5 year tenancies were mandatory, landlords would become a lot more choosy about their tenants because the risk goes up. I think fewer people would then rent to poorer families at a time when the State has given up. Section 21 allows landlords to take a chance on a higher risk tenant because possession is at least possible. Take away section 21 (or prevent it for 3/5 years) and things are very bad. Judges just don’t like granting possession in discretionary cases – especially if families are involved.

  • It’s clear that landlords would like to be able to offer longer tenancies and yet only a minority of lenders offer tenancies up to 3 years. Very few permit initial agreements in excess of this length.

    In most cases, one or two lenders taking the initiative and loosening their criteria will prompt others to follow in order to retain business. But I suspect that the majority of landlords consider a 12 month maximum AST agreement length to be a minor issue when both they and their tenants are happy to let the tenancy roll on and become periodic.

    Families with children require more security than a statutory periodic tenancy offers, however. If this demographic is increasing in size, then policymakers should consider taking appropriate action.

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