The average length of tenancy in the private rented sector has increased by 300% over the last two years, from 16 months in 2014 to four years in 2016, a new report has revealed.
Government data reveals that the average length of residence for private sector tenants has increased from three and a half years in 2015, to a new five-year high, and yet the length of tenancy could rise further if the Residential Landlords Association succeeds in its quest to persuade the government to remove barriers to longer term tenancies, including restrictions imposed on landlords by lenders and by freeholders of leases.
Whilst longer tenancies is generally good news for landlords, it has meant the quality of the inventory at the beginning of the tenancy has become much more important, with the need to prove the difference between fair 'wear and tear' and 'damage' becoming paramount.
It is estimated that landlords are out of pocket to the tune of over £5bn every year because of damage to property and unpaid rent, while damage to landlords’ property sees them fork out around £4.5bn, according to the latest Access Legal survey.
"Property damage and ‘wear and tear’ are big issues in the property over a longer tenancy period,” said Jax Kneppers, founder and CEO of Imfuna. “The longer a tenant stays in a property, the more likely it is that the property will be subject to wear and tear. When this occurs, a landlord may decide to hold onto the deposit in order to cover the cost of repairs, redecoration and cleaning bills at the end of a long-term tenancy."
He added: “Damage and fair wear and tear needs to be independently and expertly assessed in order to provide solid grounds for any charges raised against the tenant. Clearly landlords and tenants have different expectations when it comes to fair wear and tear issues. However, if landlords wish to avoid the hassle of arguments over who is responsible for damage, they need to prepare a thorough inventory of the condition of the property that details the condition of everything in it.”