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Labour plans to force landlords to offer ‘indefinite’ tenancies

A Labour government would aim to address what it sees as a ‘power imbalance’ between landlords and renters by introducing “indefinite” tenancies, the shadow housing secretary John Healey has announced.

Labour sees German-style “indefinite” tenancies as the answer to fixing what Healey described as a “broken housing market”, as it would offer renters greater security. Around one in five of tenancies are currently ended by landlords rather than tenants.

Private tenancies in Germany last an average of 11 years, compared with about four years in England.


Labour’s latest proposal marks a change from its pledge at the 2017 general election, when it committed to making private tenancies three years by default.

The scheme is also intended to reduce the extent of rent increases.

Healey commented: “People shouldn’t be living in fear of losing their homes. The insecurity of renting is a power imbalance at the heart of our broken housing market, where tenants are afraid to report problems in case they are evicted, and families with children are forced to move at short notice.

“Many landlords provide decent homes that tenants are happy with, but the government is allowing rogue landlords to take advantage of good tenants. Renters deserve better.”

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Poll: Do you think Labour’s ‘indefinite’ tenancy proposal would address what it sees as a ‘power imbalance’ between landlords and renters?


  • SCN Lettings

    If he thinks the housing market is broken now wait until the full effects of Section 24, additional regulation, and the Tenant Fee Ban kick in where landlords are forced to sell up ( as they are doing now) because their properties are no longer financially viable. Indefinite tenancies with break clauses for tenants and not for landlords will mean more landlords WILL sell. Well done Jeremy Corbyn, Shelter and Generation Rent. Look forward to less and less choice and higher rents.

  • David Lester

    The day this happens I will sell up and get out of the market!

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    So is Mr Corbyn going to give us a way to evict non paying tenants quickly and cheaply ? no didn't think so.

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    • 11 March 2019 09:27 AM

    It is looking less likely now that there will be a looney lefty Govt.
    However that DOESN'T mean the dopey Tories who will probably be the next Govt won't nick such looney policies off Labour.
    They nicked the daft S24 one from the Greens.
    So DON'T think that just because their sort of Govt isn't in power that it will mean such daft policies aren't introduced by the dopey Tories.
    The Tories are still very much intending to grind LL into the dust.
    Firstly they want rid of ALL mortgaged sole trader LL.
    Then they will work out a wsy to hit small corporate LL with a version of S24 or something that taxes turnover.
    Then once 50% of the PRS has been removed they will come after the cash rich LL who DON'T have mortgages.
    This they will do by the expedient of rent controls.
    This will reduce the PRS to levels not seen since the late 60's.
    God knows where all the homeless tenants will live.
    About 4 million of them.
    I can't see sufficient social housing being built to cope with all the homeless.
    So never underestimate the continuing ability of the dopey Tories to make a complete pig's ear of the whole PRS situation.
    Whatever happens make no mistake the Tories are coming for you just as much as Labour etc.
    As such LL cannot afford to be complacent.
    Defensive strategies should be planned for and potentially put in place now.
    Do not imagine for one moment that avoiding a Labour Govt means you have swerved a bullet.
    There is a Tory waiting with a machine gun!!
    You will have no chance of swerving the many bullets the Tories intend to fire.
    A bullet proof vest won't be sufficient.
    A tank might be!!!

     G romit

    The Tories are not making a pigs breakfast of the PRS, it is a deliberate policy driven the big corporatists aka Tory donors/ givers of non-Exec Directorships. Tenants being made homeless is just a bit of collateral damage.


    Paul, you talk utter rubbish! I think you need to polish your crystal ball better ! 🤦🏻‍♂️

  • Peter Gunby

    Excellent idea,
    We need to reduce the percentage of private rented property by 10% of the housing stock, reducing it from its current 20%
    It has increased exponentially over the last 20 years and needs to be corrected.
    It’s good to hear that some landlords will sell up, that’s one of the main hopes of the policy. More properties will become owner occupied.


    Who’s buying it? Not the now homeless tenant as they couldn’t afford to buy in the first place. This will again increase demand, reduce supply and increase rents.

    • 11 March 2019 09:40 AM

    Are you for real!?
    Do you really believe that LL have prevented or are preventing anyone from buying!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????
    If you do you are out of your very tiny mind!!!
    LL do not and never have prevented ANYONE from buying in what still is an open housing market.
    There are thousands of properties for sale which are not being bought.
    Adding more properties for sale to a market that already has lots of unsold properties DOESN'T then make it easier for particularly a FTB to buy.
    There are other issues which cause this situation.
    LL are nothing to do with these.
    Now I could potentially agree with you that LL are hoarding stock with still unmet demand.
    But this simply hasn't happened because there are still thousands of properties for sale to say nothing of the estimated; for whatever reason 650000 empty homes in the UK.
    LL simply are nothing to with why it is a struggle to buy.
    A lot of the problem is the unrealistic expectations of buyers who still expect to buy near mummy and daddy.
    The concept of buying where you can afford seems to escape most aspirant homeowners.

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    and where will all the renters live ?
    Are Renters going to magically be able to afford to, or Want to, - buy their own homes ?

    G romit

    @PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend
    To get into power will have to form alliances/support for parties like the gReen Party so Landlords "gifting" deposits to their Tenants might be the price for their support!!


    So landlords will sell properties and F T B will be buying them ? in your dreams sir. The '' I'm entitled'' generation are too busy spending every penny they earn on flash cars, nights out, holidays and generally living the life of Reilly.

  • James B

    Agree with all the comments .. clearly nothing to do with the reality of the market as only 9% of tenancies are ended by landlords and even that includes the defaulters ! We don’t have a problem with tenancy length this is nothing more than what will win some more generation rent votes
    Desperate times when our market and livelihood is driven by politicians seeking any route to stay in power no matter what the damage

  •  G romit

    "Around one in five of tenancies are currently ended by landlords rather than tenants."

    Hasn't Healey read the EHS? 93% if tenancies are ended by Tenants, remaining 7% are due to mainly non payment of rent, damaging the property. Any increase in Landlords evicting is most likely due to the Government driving Landlords out of the market, something Labour seems to want accelerate.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    If Labour have anything to do with Housing, only 7% of people will have anywhere to live. !
    People think the Conservatives are doing a bad job , and their Right, - don't be thinking it couldn't be any worse, and you know the party who will make that happen - Corby's

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    So 80% of tenancies are already ended by the tenant and Labour want to address the 'power imbalance'.

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    • 11 March 2019 11:10 AM

    In all my 10 years of letting I have ONLY had to evict 5 tenants
    The reason they were evicted is
    Rent default
    Rent default
    Rent default
    Rent default
    Rent default!!!!!!!!!!
    Had the tenants who did pay rent still wish to be renting they could have done on periodic tenancies.
    As I never intended to sell; those original rent paying tenants could still be renting from me if they wished!!
    How about that for an indefinite tenancy!?
    Pay your rent on time and in full paying annual rent increases and you can be there as long as you wish.
    My tenants are all going to be given NTQ because of S24 making it unviable to retain those rental properties.
    Had the Govt not introduced the bonkers S24 policy I could have let the self same properties to the existing tenants for the next 17 years.
    But clearly Govt did not wish me to effectively offer de facto indefinite tenancies and decided to put me out of business instead thereby terminating 4 lots of tenancies.
    Rendering about 15 tenants homeless.
    Result idiot Govt according to them.
    Why Govt refuses to see what happened when Ireland tried something very similar to S24.
    Wasn't it Einstein who stated a definition of insanity was to repeat something that hadn't worked AGAIN!!!?
    It is almost as though the Tories are in denial as to what has happened in Ireland.
    As it currently stands the English are showing thenselves to be a lot thicker than the Irish

    G romit

    "It is almost as though the Tories are in denial as to what has happened in Ireland. "
    No its is deliberate policy to make way for their friends in the BTR sector who purely by coincidence ar big Tory PArty donors, and who have numerous non-Exec Directorship vacancies coming up in the next few years.

    "Rendering about 15 tenants homeless. " - collateral damage.

  • icon

    John Healey is the rogue for suggesting that going back to the era of tenancies for life would benefit tenants. Tenancies for life drastically reduced the number of rented dwellings in the 20th century. They would do the same to supply this century, because landlords would sell up instead.

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    • 11 March 2019 11:30 AM

    Personally I believe it is criminal to force LL out of business with the bonkers S24 policy.
    To deprive tenants of a home to supposedly facilitate a FTB to be able to buy is bonkers.
    There is simply no way there is any shortage of properties for FTB to buy and LL selling up won't encourage more FTB to buy.
    Affordability is the crux of the matter.
    Very few LL are selling to ex-tenants.
    Perhaps a version of HTB for existing properties might enable tenants etc to buy ex-rental properties.
    But then HTB was really invented to facilitate new build property not to provide subsidised residential purchases for existing properties.

    G romit

    "To deprive tenants of a home to supposedly facilitate a FTB to be able to buy is bonkers. "
    This was just the spin George Osborne and his spin doctors put on it to make palatable to the electorate. A bit of Landlord bashing and at the same time supporting FTBs is all good populist propaganda.

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    The only broken part of the housing market is the government promise to build new homes.

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    It is very misleading to cite the German market. It is completely different to the UK one. My sister rented there for many years and you are expected to bring and install your own kitchen and do most repairs yourself. You are given a shell. In the UK, landlords can be called upon to go an fit a new light bulb. Even tiny maintenance issues have to be sorted by the landlord. If not, the likes of Shelter will come running. In addition, in Germany finance costs are still deductible when calculating profit. If Healey wants us to have the German model then he should be petitioning for the abolition of Section 24 for starters.


    Yes agree also we should be able to sell the properties if held for 10+ years free of CGT.

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    • 11 March 2019 12:01 PM

    Very sensible comnents.
    Can you imagine a DSS tenant installing their own kitchen and bathroom etc!!!!!!!?????
    The German market is completely different to the UK PRS.
    Regarding changing bulbs.
    No LL is required to change a light bulb.
    If the light fitting is defective then a LL must have this fixed.
    The only way a tenant may deduce a light fitting is defective is to change the bulb!!!
    It is obvious that finance costs should be deductible.
    S24 has to be the most ridiculous tax policy invented.
    The Window Tax being a close second!!!


    Agree with all comments except one.
    I will have to considerably rethink how I go on in the future with this.
    Maybe think about airbnb or maybe holiday lets.
    I have looked at some of these weekend party properties and they are asking from £3000 to £10000 for a weekend stay, depending on the number of people and location.
    Quite a lot are booked up already for the spring and summer, surprisingly.
    I have a listed barn which can sleep six and this would be ideal for this, what with the Celtic Manor, (which is only three miles away from me) having built a 3000 plus convention centre there, there ought to be plenty of demand.

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    • 11 March 2019 12:17 PM

    Crikey you seem to have hit on rental opportunities far better than bog standard letting.
    Your out of the box thinking sounds like something worth considering.

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    Hi Paul
    Yes, the holiday market is buoyant and there seems to be no shortage of people wanting to hire out places for a few days.
    I know this, because I have been trying to hire out one of these properties that sleeps 15 for my wife's birthday which is in the summer.
    I wanted 3 days , however, I have had to go to 5 days and even then, this was a concession, because
    most of these places mentioned will only let out for seven days during the peak months and they seem to go like 'hot cakes'.
    I had to make a decision on the dates almost straight away, as there was someone online wishing to book it for the full 7 days, would you believe it?
    It's just something that I have in mind, considering the constant attacks on the PRS.

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    • 11 March 2019 15:29 PM

    You are obviously a bit of a go getter not prepared to be beaten by S24.
    Many other LL will respond as you are.
    Me I can't be arsed(lazy perhaps) and intend to sell up and invest in one resi property for myself with no more than 4 occupants so as not to become a Licensible HMO even though it would be my PPR.
    Not interested in one HMO or anything prosaic.
    Worked out my net income would be nearly the same with lodgers as it would be from 4 properties.
    Agreed I lose the CG potential from 4 properties.
    But I believe it is generally recognised that CG won't happen for at least 10 years.
    So not worth hanging on for that.
    Did notice today on an okd HUTH that some guys had done a really good job on converting a terrace house in Plumstead into a quality HMO.
    Every room had an en-suite.
    Not sure if they were aware about the risk of Individual Council Tax Banding which would have reduced their net income from £3000 to about £2400 not including all other costs.
    Just ICTB can have a massive detrimental effect on profitability.
    One of the reasons I never went HMO was the risk of ICTB..
    As we all know Council Tax is massively increasing.
    It will be increasing by at least 4.99% per year as that is I believe the amount Councils may increase by without a local referendum
    So funnily enough this is how much ALL Councils increase by!!!
    Then there is the threat of revaluation.
    Councils will then see a wonderful opportunity to ICTB HMO and make fortunes out of HMO LL.
    Especially those who have made their HMO really nice places!!

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    • 11 March 2019 15:58 PM

    @ Neil Finlay
    Hmm! I actually consider my crystal ball is polished up rather nicely.
    Which is why I will be exiting the AST PRS as quickly as I can!!
    With S24 it no longer pays to have leverage.
    So I intend to have very little leverage to enable lots more profit.
    Lodger demand is massive near me.
    A 4 bed house will do me nicely with my 3 lodgers.
    No more than 4 occupants so avoiding mandatory HMO licensing.
    Yep my crystal ball is performing very nicely
    Good luck to all the S24 LL cos you're gonna need it!!!

  • icon

    When I can and when the market suits me I will sell up my b2ls after some 25+ years. Go commercial.
    Not have to worry about any maintenance as all will be Fully Repairing leases.
    In the nearly 3 decades
    I have evicted for,
    1, non payment of rent( HOUSING BENEFIT) x 2.
    2. Antisocial behaviour. X 2.
    3. Drug user X 1.
    Lost 1 case with Deposit Dispute.
    Now simple rules; No universal credit. No pets, No single parents, No daily curry eaters. No 6 month or 12 month advance rent payments unless Students with their Government sponsored letter.
    No body without a Excellent reference or guarantor ( when asked for)
    With commercial, no stupid councils and their daft HMO rules which dont apply to themselves. No tenants blocking showers and bath with Their hair and expect me to unblock without a charge, no loss of keys after say 6pm and weekends and dont like my £25 charge to deliver replacement or let them in or £125 to change the locks.
    Council need to go back to 50s 60s and 70s and start building, Shelter needs to close shop, Council tax when property is empty for a month zero rates.

  • icon
    • 11 March 2019 17:25 PM

    When you say commercial do you refer to FHL; SA and AirBnB syle lettings!?
    Commercial to me means shops which I wouldn't touch with a barge pole but can see the merit in FHL etc. Especially as a way to beat S24.
    Only problem is I have heard rumblings of imposing S24 on FHL etc.
    So not sure about long term viability of even these alleged Commercial lettings enterprises
    What say you?
    What happens if councils get fed up with lots of resi letting properties becoming FHL?

  • icon

    I have two lucrative commercial properties with flats above both of them.
    If the accommodation is let separately from the commercial part of the premises, then you wouldn't be able to impose a full repairing lease on them.
    If it is a single storey building with no separate accommodation, or if the whole of the building is leased to the same person or company, then you would be able to impose a full repairing lease.

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    No I mean commercial leases to Large retail outlets, banks,plc, established businesses with good trading accounts, hairdressers in student campus areas, and so on with 10 or 15 yearFully Repairing leases. Have at present freehold building with two commercial outlets on ground on FRL and Ground Rents from 14 flats above, control the whole building maintenance wise and charge out to Flat leaseholders SC, keep it simple. No stupid daft councils to worry about.

  • icon
    • 12 March 2019 09:59 AM

    Yep I can see what Commercial means to you guys.
    As such you are perhaps far more sophisisticated than the average resi LL which is me.
    Sophistication comes nowhere near my business model and I intend for it never to!!
    So for your bog standard LL wishing to escape S24 but not willing to get involved with the clever investments you guys have developed could your basic LL convert to what I would suggest is very simple commercial as in FHL; SA etc.
    I suppose a sort of commercial for dummy LL!
    So not much different from normal resi letting but with letting that avoids S24.
    S24 is after all the tax tail that now wags the business dog!!
    Before S24 the situation was reversed which is how business should be managed.
    S24 threw the spanner in the works for that conventional business model in use for over 18 years.
    With the rumours over the S24 tax free status of small commercial as in FHL etc it seems that if a current resi LL is NOT prepared to become sophisticated then leaving the PRS remains the only avenue.
    Much of SA is being conducted illegally by LL in breach of lender conditions.
    As such LL are winging it in the expectation that very few lenders will ever find out what they are doing.
    Converting to FHL is a far more stable and legal proposition right up until Govt imposes S24 on FHL mortgages!!!
    So personally the lodger methodology has more future proofing with its business model.
    It would be very difficult for Govt to ever impose S24 on a lodger LL
    Will S24 see the comeback of the Rigsby style live in LL with no more than 3 other occupants so as to avoid Mandatory HMO licensing!?


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