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Flat sharers do not want longer tenancy agreements

Shelter’s call for five-year contracts would not go down well with the large majority of people who share rental flats and houses.

Shelter is not the first organisation to call for longer tenancy agreements. Housing Voice recently called for tenures to be extended from six months to two years.

Following that call, flat and house share website SpareRoom ran a poll of 1,000 of its users and found that only 10% would be in favour, with 82% against and 8% neutral.

Matt Hutchinson, director of SpareRoom, said: “Extended contracts make people anxious, because they think they’ll be locked in for longer and the landlord will be able to increase rents at any point.
“Given that one of the benefits of renting is the flexibility to relocate to another area or a more suitable property if circumstances change, we can understand why people might be wary of longer contracts.
“Flat sharers also voiced concerns that a 24-month tenancy could place further restrictions on the tenants landlords will accept as they seek to reduce their risk, with stricter rules on deposits and guarantors. It is unclear whether the proponents of these changes have taken such factors into consideration.
“Many landlords would be happy to extend tenancies for good tenants but are precluded from doing so by mortgage lender restrictions.

“Landlords have voiced their concerns around the provision of longer tenancies, which included the difficulty of evicting bad tenants in the event they damage property or fail to pay their rent.
“A change to rental contracts that discouraged investment in property for rent could in turn serve to exacerbate the housing crisis rather than to resolve it.”

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