Shelter calls for five-year rental contract to bring sector stability

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A NEW five-year private rental contract should be introduced to give people living in the squeezed sector greater stability, a charity said yesterday.

Shelter said that a new type of tenancy called the Stable Rental Contract should become the norm across the rental market in England to help tenants put down roots and give landlords greater certainty over returns. It suggested that under the five-year contract rents should increase in line with inflation each year, giving tenants and landlords predictable outgoings and incomes.

Shelter said the contract should also include flexible terms so that tenants can leave after two months’ notice and landlords should be able to end the tenancy if they want to sell the property or evict bad tenants.

Shelter said that a generation of people who have been “locked out of home ownership” should be offered a better deal. It found that over the last 15 years, the number of people renting their home from a landlord has almost doubled to 8.5 million people in England, with nearly a third of renters being families with children.

The charity found that 35 per cent of renting families worry about their landlord ending their contract before they are ready to move out and one tenant described the experience as like “walking on eggshells”. Two-thirds of those surveyed said they would like the option of remaining in their home for the longer term but the current typical time spent in a rented home is just 20 months, Shelter said.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “With a generation priced out of home ownership, renting is the only choice for growing numbers of people. But with the possibility of eviction with just two months’ notice, and constant worries about when the next rent rise will hit, the current rental market isn’t giving people – particularly families – the stability they need to put down roots.” Shelter said that such a contract could be introduced immediately within the existing legal framework in England. It said longer-term contracts could also be more profitable for landlords, as short-term ones can bring costly vacant periods and re-letting expenses, which can undermine returns.