A new three year tenancy is being proposed as part of wider plans to give renters in England more security.
The extended minimum term would replace current six to 12 month leases – which around 81% of renters are currently signed up to.
It would, according to MPs, give tenants a more steady place to call home, while also offering landlords more financial security.
Figures show renters stay in a home, on average, for four years, however eight in 10 contracts are for a minimum of six or 12 months.
Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said the move would allow renters to put down roots.
“It is deeply unfair when renters are forced to uproot their lives or find new schools for their children at short notice due to the terms of their rental contract,” he said.
“Being able to call your rental property your home is vital to putting down roots and building stronger communities.
“That’s why I am determined to act, bringing in longer tenancies which will bring benefits to tenants and landlords alike.”
What the changes mean for you…
Ministers are currently proposing a shake up to tenancy rules that would see the minimum term extended to three years.
The rules are being consulted on until August and – if successful – would scrap six month terms in favour of a longer contract to give people more rights if they wanted to stay put.
However, MPs have said that renters would still be able to leave earlier under the plans if they chose to.
They’re also currently consulting on exceptions for some types of tenant – for instance those in student accommodation who typically require shorter contracts.
Will landlords be able to put prices up in between?
At present, if you’re on a fixed term contract, your landlord can only increase you rent during your lease if you consent to it.
If you disagree, they have to wait until your fixed period is over to push any changes through.
However, it’s not uncommon for landlords to try to push tenants out when they reject rises – often by handing them a Section 21 notice.
This forms part of the two month eviction process – and landlords don’t have to provide a formal reason for using it.
While the new three year tenancy has been proposed to protect buyers, no changes to protect tenants from rising rents have been put forward.
That’s despite rent prices hitting an all time high in England – outstripping wages by an eye watering amount .
To give an example, in London, rent prices have soared by more than 25% since 2011 while wages have risen just 9.1%.
Across England as a whole, rent is up 18.2% since 2011 compared to a 9.8% rise in wages.
Shadow housing secretary John Healey said: “Any fresh help for renters is welcome but this latest promise is meaningless if landlords can still force tenants out by hiking up the rent.”
Generation Rent – the body campaigning for affordable private homes – said the Government must amend Section 21 to give tenants greater protection over landlords that abuse the rules.
Dan Wilson Craw, director of Generation Rent, said it’s about time 30 year old tenancy rules are revised.
“Three-year tenancies are a step forward but would still mean that many tenants – including families with children in school – would have to move every few years,” he said.
“Regardless of a tenant’s long term plans, they should not fear being evicted if they meet their obligations to the landlord. The government could therefore give England’s 11 million tenants even greater security by abolishing Section 21, the law that allows landlords to evict without giving a reason.”