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Long-term fixed contracts will now ‘prove less attractive to tenants’

Whether a matter of choice or necessity, many private renters demand long-term security and the vast majority of private landlords are more than willing to meet their needs.

According to the government’s English Housing Survey for 2018-19, the average length that a private tenant lived in their current rental property was 4.4 years, up from 4.1 years in 2017-18.

The data shows that private renters are enjoying greater security in their homes than at any time over the last decade, which is an indication that the market is responding by ensuring tenants remain in properties for longer periods of time, enabling them to establish roots in a community.


However, many people also appreciate the freedom and flexibility that renting offers, and in the current climate of uncertainty around COVID-19, flexibility will be key to many tenants, according to Elisabeth Kohlbach, CEO of tech-first real estate investment company Skwire.

She said: “For residential and commercial landlords alike, long-term fixed contracts will prove less attractive to tenants, who are more likely to adopt a wait-and-see approach while the health situation continues.” 

As we become increasingly accustomed to working from home, Kohlbach expects to see an enduring demand for flexibility and workspaces that cater for an agile workforce, and residential landlords will have to be flexible as a consequence.

She added: “From a residential perspective, landlords will have to adopt a similar degree of flexibility to survive.

“In times of uncertainty, tenants will seek out rental options that enable them to react quickly to changing circumstances and will avoid being locked into long term contracts.

“Landlords adjusting to this demand for flexibility now may well find themselves ahead of the curve in years to come.”

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    Security works both ways, like all sensible agreements.

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    I like good long term tenants, who would not, I have tenants that have been with me 10 yrs + one has been with me over 25 yrs.

  • Matthew Payne

    Who says these tenants were on long term fixed contracts that they will now avoid? The facts are they stayed 4.4 years up from 4.1 years which in my experience has no correlation to initial contract length, an AST can only be 3 years long anyway, but they are a small minority. Most would have been an initial 12 month contract layered with renewals and many turning into stat periodics. Dont see any change to that recipe going forward, the flexibilty she refers to has existed all along.

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    • 08 April 2020 21:33 PM

    No way have I or will I ever offer an AST longer than 6 months.

    Potentially with the abolishment of the AST LL will have little alternative than to offer tenancy agreements of indeterminate length.
    LL will then face massive problems getting rid of rent defaulting tenants utilising the current dysfunctional S8 process.

    Another reason I am getting out of normal lettings

  • Laurence Keilty

    I am old enough to remember when the Government skewed the market so far against the Landlord the protected tenant found it impossible to find anything to rent. Nothing is learned by politicians and we are heading in that direction again. No one can fault the desire to rid the market of bad Landlords and sub-standard property, but the mood music has so demonised the private sector that I am selling my family houses when they fall vacant. If the State really doesn't want a private rental sector, so be it, but how is the State going to deal with the ensuing homelessness? I have had a good relationship with my tenants over ten years, but it has not been a profitable investment, and certainly not, as George Osbourne stated, 'A passive investment'.

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    • 09 April 2020 03:50 AM

    I believe you are correct in your sentiments.
    The ultimate in Govt intent was S24.
    That really showed Govt didn't want private LL.
    So be it we are leaving the sector.
    This is what happened in Ireland and now the Irish Govt realising their S24 folly are now desperately trying to have LL return to the market to solve the massive Irish homelessness problem.

    Who'd have thought eh!?
    The UK will need to reach that same situation before the folly of S24 is abolished.
    Will be a few years before the idiot Tories will do this.

    Lots more suffering for tenants to do as LL leave the sector!.


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