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Long term tenancy consultation: The RLA response

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

The RLA has submitted it’s response to the Government’s consultation into long term tenancies – and the barriers preventing landlords from offering them.

The consultation, overcoming the barriers to longer tenancies in the private rented sector, closed yesterday (Sunday) with the RLA response outlining both the difficulties faced by landlords and potential solutions.

Previous RLA surveys show that around 40% of our members would be prepared to offer a longer tenancy if it was asked for under the current circumstances. However, they say tenants do not ask and, in some cases, do not desire longer leases.

Barriers for landlords

Members who responded to our most recent survey raised a number of issues

  • Some landlords feel it is important for them to get to know the tenant first, before offering them a longer term tenancy.
  • Some pointed to restrictions in mortgage conditions and insurance policies preventing them from offering longer term tenancies.
  • And some pointed to the complex court process to regain possession. Overall, over three quarters of landlords (77%) said that they do not offer longer tenancies because of the time and cost to regain possession, although more than half (55%) said they would be more likely to do so if a more efficient court process was available.
Demand for longer tenancies

As well as there being barriers for landlords in offering longer term tenancies,  recent research from RLA PEARL found, 38% of landlords who responded said tenants don’t want them.

Echoing this, reports from mortgage lenders say that they rarely experience landlords who ask for mortgage terms that restrict tenancies of over 12 months (where these exist), to be lifted.

Potential solution – tax incentives

The RLA is proposing that the government introduce a tax allowance that increases the longer the tenancy lasts in a bid to encourage landlords to offer longer tenancies for those that want them.

45% of landlords in our recent survey reported that the lack of financial incentives was a barrier to offering longer tenancies and the RLA believes that introducing incentives in this way would also encourage landlords to find ways to deal amicably with minor problems rather than evicting the tenant and losing the relief.

You can read the RLA’s consultation response in full here

  • Interesting in learning more about longer term tenancies and what the future could hold for landlords? Come along to Future Renting, taking place on 13th September in London.

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

With a degree in Journalism, she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and creating social media content.

Before joining the RLA, Victoria worked in the University of Salford’s press office, and during University she represented Smooth Radio at events across the North West, as a member of the street team.

4 Comments

  • While I agree that tax incentives would be good, as a landlord and an advisor to landlords I would like to make the following points:

    – Successive English National Housing surveys have found that something like 90% of tenancies are ended by the tenant.

    – Many tenancies do in fact last 4 – 5 years or longer; my own tenants stay 5 years on average.

    – Where landlords are forced to evict, most use Section 21 (no fault eviction) even where there are very good grounds, simply because it’s more painless (and often quicker) than Section 8 (notice based on grounds). This is in no helped by our over worked and difficult system. I have spoken to landlords who’ve simply said, “I know the tenant owes me thousands, but I just want them out of the property” (where Section 21 used). However, this is feeding the myth in the media that landlords simply evict on a whim or for not very good reasons.

    – I have personally never considered evicting a tenant because they brought up a repair issue, even a very expensive one, and neither have most of the several hundred landlords that I’ve communicated with and advised over the last 5 years or so. Evicting a tenant for that reason makes no sense – firstly, the landlord is losing their income and incurring expenses while the property is vacant, and secondly, they are merely postponing the issue, because the next tenant is likely to raise it too! However, I once met an inexperienced landlord who had relied on an agent to protect the deposit but failed to do so, whose tenant was using that to blackmail her into carrying out several changes she wanted to the property, and was making these demands regularly. Most of the tenant’s expectations were unreasonable, so the landlord served notice on her. The landlord was self managing while doing a demanding full time job and caring for her very sick mother, but she couldn’t afford an agent and was not confident after being let down badly by the agent who found her tenant . THAT is the only instance I’m personally aware of where a landlord has served notice on a tenant because they raised maintenance issues.

    -If a landlord wants to raise rent, they can do this without the tenant’s express consent if the rent increase is precisely written into the tenancy agreement or (if the tenancy is a statutory periodic tenancy) they can use Section 13 and the tenant can only defend if it’s above the market rate or a mistake was made in drafting or serving the notice. Therefore, there is no need to evict a tenant to raise rent!

  • All the tenants I have had over 16 years have started with a 6 or 12 months tenancy, but have stayed between 2 and 10 years.
    A couple have been evicted after 2 to 3 years for not paying rent and destroying my property at great expense to me. All others have left for their own reasons mostly larger properties or move to different areas.
    Government just meddling aging. When current tenants leave for whatever the reason I will sell up. I have nor increased rent for tenants for about 2 years but with new regulations, meddling, and take rules hope to sell all in 1 to 2 time.
    Let the council house these families.

  • I find it quiet difficult to retain student tenants for more than 12months even with offering them a well specified property, large rooms etc. It would save me the cost and hassle of finding tenants and using the estate agents again.

    The come back on the tenants is very small, for example breaching the tenancy agreement and not paying last months rent or causing damage during the tenancy and not reporting/paying for it. Because they might get away with it. (However if the landlord hasn’t completed something… fines/marked as a bad landlord,extra costs etc)

    Its easier for them to move to a new landlord every 12 months.

    So I would likely not be able to receive any tax incentives.

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