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Longer tenancy call during housing debate

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Calls for tax incentives for longer tenancies were made during the Government’s debate on housing and homes.

MPs speaking in the re-arranged debate yesterday raised concerns about security for families with Sir Robert Syms, Conservative MP for Poole and Former Chair of the APPG for the PRS reiterating the RLA’s call for tax incentives for those landlords willing to offer longer tenancies.

He said: “Somehow the Government, perhaps through tax incentives or capital gains incentives, ought to try to ensure that leases of three years or five years are available to families.

“That would take some of the pressure off families with children, who would feel much more content with their lot.”

This is something the RLA called for in its budget submission last year.

In a recent survey by the RLA of almost 3,000 landlords, 63% reported that they would offer a tenancy of 12 months or longer at the request of the tenant – so the will is there.

However there are also barriers.

A longer tenancy also includes a greater risk for landlords, who are potentially being left to shoulder the cost if a tenant stops paying rent, and RLA research found nearly one in four landlords said their mortgage conditions that restricted the maximum tenancy length.

Housing Secretary, James Brokenshire MP confirmed the Government “will shortly consult on options to support landlords to offer longer tenancies to those who want them”.

However, Mhairi Black, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South said action is needed, not more consultations.

She said: “Any action to tackle barriers to landlords offering longer ​and more secure tenancies has been kicked into the long grass, with the Government instead announcing yet another consultation to add to the 15 already ongoing consultations relating to the private rented sector.”

The Shadow Housing Secretary, John Healey MP, spoke to raise concerns about PRS tenants facing “rents that are soaring way ahead of incomes.”

He went on to outline Labour’s policies for the PRS which are, he said, “legal minimum standards, longer tenancies, a cap on rent rises and local licensing to drive out the rogue landlords.”

The former Housing Minister, Mark Prisk MP (Conservative, Hertford and Stortford) outlined his opposition to rent capping, and asked John Healey if he supported them.

John Healey MP referred to Labour’s election manifesto which pledged “longer tenancies, with a cap on the rent increases during that period.”

Licensing was also addressed. Emma Hardy, Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle said: “We all know that there are many fantastic private landlords out there across the country who offer a high-quality service for the people living in their accommodation, but we also know that there are many who do not.”

She outlined concerns about the standard of a number of properties in the PRS in Hull, and called on the Government “to make it easier for local councils such as Hull City Council to introduce landlord licensing, so that they can check that all these people living in private rented accommodation are not living somewhere that is a hazard to their health.”

Lloyd Russell-Moyle Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown spoke of the importance of selective licensing schemes. He went on to express “bemusement and even frustration that the Minister has still not signed off numerous selective licensing applications, including mine in Brighton and Hove.”

To read the debate in full click here.

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.


  • If there is an opportunity to feed-in ideas into any legislation regarding letting and in particular tax, my suggestion would be to allow improvement costs, such as kitchens, bathrooms, etc. to be allowable expenses to offset against tax liability. These can be costly and without any kind of incentive on tax paid on rental income, it is easy to see why unscrupulous landlords would not bother to improve the homes they rent. In my own case the “tenant” is my son so it was an easy decision to put in a new bathroom even before he moved in. Hopefully I will replace the kitchen this year and the boiler the year after, but I must admit, it would be nice to think the taxman would help me a little bit.

  • For years I have been offering long tenancies to tenants – up to 3 years in length.

    How many have taken me up on that?

    Not one.

    Not a single one.

    Guess what – tenants don’t want to have to commit to three years. They don’t know what their jobs will be doing, studies will be taking them, life will take them…

    12 months is the max that any of them want…they can’t/don’t want to see further than that.

    This whole ‘long tenancy’ thing is a complete red herring. For those tenants who do want to stay – guess, what, pay your rent and look after the place and no landlord will evict you. Why would they?

    There is far too much ridiculous hype around this issue…justifies a few pointless political positions I suppose.

    • I agree. I don’t even do 6 month agreements any more unless I really have to. It’s too expensive with all the set up costs, work etc. I always run with 12 month agreements, and sometimes this will be at the cost of securing a tenant. I would love to do longer, but would we really get the take up? I wish the government would acknowledge there are good tenants and landlords and bad tenants and landlords. It would be helpful to reward all who are on the right side of existing rules, and improve compliance on those who are not.

  • I would not give any tenant longer than the initial 6 months. Providing they pay their rent and look after MY property, they can stay as long as they like on a rolling tenancy. I don’t want to commit and neither would they when I asked them, so it works good. If this government forces more taxes on us landlords through licensing schemes, additional efficiency improvements that wil cost me money, I shall be selling up in any case, as I have already paid taxes on the income I used to purchase the property at source, I take all the risks , so any more restrictions and rights given to tenants, which ultimately affects my rental income is definitely not acceptable to me.

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