Thursday, 08 December 2016

Government accused of lifetime tenancy U-turn

The shadow housing minister has accused the government of a breaking a promise to protect the rights of existing tenants.

Alison Seabeck said ministers have gone back on a commitment not to scrap lifetime tenancies for tenants who are already in social housing.

Under proposals in the Localism Bill, which is currently going through parliament, social landlords would be able to set fixed-term tenancies for new tenants.

Housing minister Grant Shapps has insisted these reforms will not affect existing tenants under any circumstances.

When questioned on the subject in parliament last week, he said: ‘There is no chance of, or way in which, a social tenancy can be broken or changed for anybody already in council or housing association homes.’

But during discussions on the Localism Bill yesterday, communities minister Andrew Stunell suggested discretion on retaining security of tenure when existing tenants move home ‘should be available to landlords’.

Ms Seabeck said: ‘From the prime minister down, the government has promised repeatedly that changes to social housing will not see existing social tenants lose their rights to a secure tenancy.

‘That promise has been broken and tenants should be very concerned about the way Tory and Liberal Democrat ministers are threatening their right to secure home.’

The Communities and Local Government department said Mr Stunell has been setting out government policy.

A spokesperson said: ‘Existing secure and assured tenants will see no change to the terms of their tenancies and will also retain their lifetime tenancy if they transfer or exchange their properties, even if they exchange with a tenant in a new flexible tenancy. And those required to move home, for example to allow demolition and regeneration work to take place, they will always be granted a tenancy with no less security in their new settled home.

‘Andrew Stunell made clear that if existing secure or assured tenants choose to move to a new affordable rent property, the landlord will not be required to offer lifetime security but would have the discretion to do so.’

Readers' comments (58)

Comments are only open to subscribers of Inside Housing

Already a subscriber?

If you’re already a subscriber to Inside Housing, your subscription may not be linked to your online account. You can link your subscription from within the My Account section of the website and clicking on Link My Account.

Not yet a subscriber?

If you don't yet subscribe to Inside Housing, please visit our subscription page to view our various subscription packages.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up



  • Local Housing Allowance cap U-turn ‘creates new bedroom tax’

    25 November 2016

    Housing association leaders have compared a shift in the government’s Local Housing Allowance cap policy to the controversial bedroom tax because it will hit tenants in their current circumstances.

  • Kerslake calls for housing policy u-turn

    29 June 2016

    The former head of the civil service has called on ministers to dramatically u-turn on their housing policies and instead undertake a public housebuilding programme, following the Brexit vote.

  • Osborne announces 'Lifetime ISA'

    16 March 2016

    George Osborne has announced a new government-backed ‘Lifetime ISA’ which can be used by younger people to buy homes.

  • Lifetime tenancies remain for transferring tenants

    12 January 2016

    Local authorities will still in some cases be able to offer lifetime tenancies to existing secure tenants who have opted to move to another council home.

  • Lifetime tenancies are to be scrapped

    9 December 2015

    Lifetime tenancies in council housing will be “phased out” under a new amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill tabled by the government yesterday.

IH Subscription