Major landlords to offer short-term tenancies
At least three major housing associations have said they will seek to introduce minimum tenancies of less than the default five years proposed in the government’s Localism Bill.
A sample survey by Inside Housing of 25 of the largest associations in England - which own 767,000 homes between them, according to Tenant Services Authority figures - revealed 18 plan to implement fixed-term, rather than lifetime, tenancies in some form for new tenants, pending approval from their boards and councils.
Three plan to keep lifetime tenancies and four have yet to decide.
Home Group, Bromford Group and Trafford Housing Trust, which own and manage 80,000 homes between them, said they would offer two or three-year tenancies in some circumstances.
The government proposed in November last year to scrap traditional lifetime tenancies for new tenants. This will come into effect next year.
Ministers hope the policy will allow a higher turnover on properties so they can be used by people in the greatest need. Landlords can choose the level at which they set tenancies.
In June, housing minister Grant Shapps said two-year tenancies were to be used ‘just in exceptional circumstances, and at least five years will be the norm’. ‘To believe people will be thrown out of their homes after two years is to fundamentally misunderstand the role of social landlords in this country,’ he said.
Social landlords are required to set out any circumstances in which they will offer tenancies of less than five years in their tenancy policies.
A spokesperson for Home Group said: ‘We are aware of the acute need to balance the use of our stock in creating sustainable communities and we feel that being able to offer fixed-term tenancies of two or five years along with lifetime tenancies will continue supporting us to do so.’
‘We are pushing for three-year tenancies,’ said Mick Kent, chief executive of Bromford Group. ‘If no one tries it, how are we going to know [whether it works]?’
Mr Kent said that the option of providing short-term tenancies would allow the 26,000-home landlord to consider individual circumstances including tenants’ employment status.
But a spokesperson for Anchor said: ‘We hope that the government’s view and our own view of the need to offer older people lifetime tenancies will be shared by local authorities when developing their strategic approach.’
Michelle Reid, chief executive of the Tenant Participation Advisory Service, said surveys of TPAS members showed tenants were ‘fearful’ for the future as a result of the fixed tenancies.