As more and more people are relying on the private rental sector regulators have been campaigning for tenants to have better rights so that they can build a home and a life. The fact that tenants can be given six or twelve months’ notice to vacate their properties at any given time means that they often struggle to plan for the future, which is why a think tank has recently claimed that they should be allowed to ‘rent for life’. But what does this mean and is it a viable option for landlords? Here we look at the debate in more detail:
Evicting a Tenant
There are many reasons why a landlord may choose to evict a tenant; the tenant could be in rent arrears, fail to look after the property properly or just not be the right fit. Furthermore, if a landlord finds themselves in financial difficulty then they may have no other option but to give notice to one or all of their tenants and sell off the properties in their portfolio. However, evicting a tenant is not easy, especially if you don’t have an issue with them, as you have to follow strict procedures. In order to evict your tenants legally you need to make sure that you issue them an official notice to quit with a notice period of at least six months. Your tenancy agreement should state the rules concerning evictions when it comes to your properties so make sure that you make these clear with your tenants before they move into your premises.
Even though the law protects tenants to an extent, when it comes to evictions they can still lose out. For example, rent prices are currently extremely high which means that they may struggle to find a new property that’s within their budget. Furthermore, they may have to move to a completely new area which could have adverse effects on their jobs or their children’s schooling. Having to constantly move every couple of years is not only inconvenient but also expensive, especially as tenants often pay fees each time they move into a new property. This is just a few of the reasons that some people are calling for tenants’ rights to be improved.
‘Rent for Life’
As previously mentioned, the think tank Civitas has recently claimed that a new regulatory regime should be put in place that will enable tenants to ‘rent for life’. Daniel Bentley, author of Civitas’ Future of Private Renting report, claims that offering indefinite tenancies should become the “norm” for landlords and that rent prices should only increase in-line with inflation. This means that tenants would be protected from having to leave their properties with short notice, be able to build a home and a life with security and also not have to struggle with increasing rent prices. The report also claims that housing benefits would decrease as during the past decade the number of private renters requiring housing benefits has doubled due to rising rent prices.
Landlords and Tenancy Agreements
As a landlord your tenancy agreements are some of the most important documents you own as they can help should a tenant fail to pay their rent of if you need to claim on your landlord insurance. However, providing indefinite tenancies could make evicting a tenant much more difficult, even if they do fail to pay their rent or take part in disruptive or illegal activities in your property. On the other hand, knowing that your property has a long-term tenant means that you will have a steady income for the foreseeable future, giving you a better chance of expanding your property portfolio.
As with most debates over tenant and landlord relationships, it is important that a balance is found that gives tenants security as well as provides landlords the ability to have control of their properties. Finding a suitable compromise could therefore be beneficial to all involved, however it is often difficult to convince landlords to give up power when it comes to their properties and ultimately their livelihoods.
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