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Activists demand indefinite tenancies at heart of rental reform

The Renters’ Reform Coalition, a combination of some 20 groups of activists wanting to transform the lettings sector, has set its demands to MPs.

At a House of Commons event the coalition unveiled a 28 page document of demands. Some were familiar - ending Section 21 eviction powers for landlords and the creation of a national register of landlords, both of which have been backed by numerous politicians of all parties, and by the government.

Some are less familiar, and arguably the most controversial will be the radical reshaping of tenancies.

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The activists’ document says: “Tenancies should be open-ended, providing greater stability and preventing the continuous cycle of moving that many renters find themselves trapped in.

“Under a system of indefinite tenancies, there would be no fixed terms or break clauses, renters would instead be able to leave the tenancy at a time of their choosing, after giving the landlord appropriate notice.

“Indefinite tenancies provide both security and flexibility, allowing renters to stay in their homes for as long or as short a period as they need to.

“Renters should be afforded consumer protections as in any other market. Indefinite tenancies enable renters to exit a tenancy where, for instance, a property is not as advertised, or serious disrepair comes to light after moving in.”

They rule out any form of flexible tenancy let alone different, longer fixed terms.

The document goes on to say: “We believe that preserving fixed terms under any name would constitute a missed opportunity for tenancy reform.

“Optional fixed terms would create a two-tier tenancy system, overly complex for both tenants and landlords, with many renters assuming that they must leave at the end of the fixed period.

“Optional fixed terms also do not account for the imbalance of power between tenants and landlords. In high-demand areas, renters are unable to negotiate the terms of a tenancy with their landlord on an equal basis, so tenancies would realistically default to fixed-term.”

The Renters Reform Coalition describes itself as organisations committed to working together to ensure the Renters’ Reform Bill “delivers the safety, security and improvements needed for the 11 million private renters in England. We are united in our mission to reform the private rented sector so that everyone who relies on it for their home can prosper.”

 

Members include the National Union of Students, ACORN - formally called the Association of Community Organisations for Reform Now - along with the Greater Manchester Tenants Union, London Renters Union, and Renters’ Rights London.

The Generation Rent activist group and campaigning charity Shelter are also members.

You can see the coalition’s full report here.

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  • George Dawes

    If that happens I'm selling EVERYTHING

    Bye bye PRS

    Fery  Lavassani

    If half of what they say ends up in the statute books, I will join you George. In fact I am putting one on the market within the next two weeks. I lived through interest rates of 17.5% (Nat West BDL 4% above B of E 13.5%) to build my portfolio. It took me years. Now a bunch of Trotskyites just leaving their nappies want to dictate how I should run my business. What about Section 1 of the Law of Property Act 1925. I guess they will have to add subsection (C) Term of Years Indefinite.

     
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    The Renter’s Reform Group. What a pack of bare faced lies. Please tell me when was a Renter even trapped in a letting, they walk anytime they want. Landlord is not going stop them or try and couldn’t anyway they already have this option and find a suitable replacement agreeable to all, we are in Business and do our best to accommodate their wishes. I think the truth is necessary for any White Paperwork and those 20 Groups misleading Parliament is disgraceful and should be brought to book for illegally subversion the rule of law.
    Me 44 years a LL what would I know. There seems to be a few of us that comment in the night time, that has to be an indication of the injustice & stress we are under.

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    • 23 March 2022 06:33 AM

    These parasites and cockcroaches are really sticking their fangs...

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    Open ended for landlords as well ? I can bet the answer to that one ! They will have no where for tenants to rent if they keep pushing us, fools the lot of them.

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    I think they are confusing the PRS for Social Housing!

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    I don't think that is a mistake Tricia, it's the end goal of all this. But ironically, most landlords already effectively fulfill all of those demands anyway, as long as the tenant is reliable and trustworthy.

     
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    I think.they just need to buy their own home!! They seem to want the same rights as a homeowner!

     
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    The Renters Reform Group unveiled a 28 page Document to House of Commons. Who is Representing the millions of Landlords to the House of Commons that supplies the billions of pounds of Properties to the Market to House those 11 million private Tenants that they refer to, at no cost to the Tax Payer but its Privately funded.
    It a shame I can’t say the same about many of their clients milking the System for ever.
    Where is NRLA in all this how many pages have they presented to House of Commons or were they there to Represented us at all ? maybe they are too busy cooking up yet more work load for LL’s with their unnecessary Redress Scheme to cripple LL’s even further to Create another Business money spinner for themselves, why are we taken for complete mugs or do they think we don’t know what they are up to.

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    We definitely need a new body to represent us. The NRLA has been affective as a chocolate fire guard in representing us.

     
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    Eastern Landlords Assoc seem to be totally hopeless as well, I won't be renewing my membership next year after nearly 30 yrs as a member

     
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    They are militant groups, what else would we expect. A 100% one sided wish list that should never have gained momentum, let alone be presented to the house of commons. But it's now been presented. Let's hope common sense prevails and it's filed in the bottom draw! Unfortunately uninformed niave vote hunting parties are likely to feature it in any future manifesto! This will then most definately be to the detriment of the PRS.

    Peter  Yednell

    I note Mayor Khan is again calling for rent freezes.. Interest rates are going up, service charges (on flats) and landlords remain liable for repairs including five figure sums for things like lifts and roofs.. But... As long as morons don't realise that supply will be reduced by a freeze.. A populist will call for freezes..

     
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    Our tenants already have open ended (otherwise known as periodic tenancies) as long as they have paid rent and looked after the property. We have some who have been in for 17 years since we first bought the house. Why would any and Lord evict a good tenant unless they need to sell. If it is legislated that we can't sell at a time of our choosing that will be the end and none of the families we currently house could by the house they are living in.

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    in all my 34 years of being a landlord iv only used a section 21 around 4 times, not to hike up the rents or get someone else in who i fancied but due to the tenant anti social behaviors that they would not rectify causing a nuisance to other tenants trying to sleep, thus protecting tenants.
    how many hoops of burden of proof will I need to go jump through to be able to swiftly get someone out now, This would not only be devastating to landlords but also to the neigbours. Problematic tenants are not only a blight on landlords but also on the community/ neighbours, trying to get someone like this out is very expensive difficult to proove.
    Tenants !!! be carefull what you wish for.

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    These louts are decent tenants' worst enemy!

    Why can't normal people see that and put them back in their box?

    If they persist, that's where they'll have to live - in cardboard boxes!

     G romit

    In reality they are only trying to protect rogue tenants (as other posters have stated good tenants stay as long as they want, as Kandlords rarely evict good tenants).
    So what will this achieve?
    1. Fewer propertiess to rent as Landlords get driven out
    2. Higher rents
    3. More stringent credit checks for new tenants plus guarantors
    thus penalising all renters in order to protect the minority rogue tenants.
    Well done Shelter, Gen Rent, Acorn et al I hope you'll be proud of yourselves.

     
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    Good tenants that pay their rent are welcome to stay as long as they like, however come 2028 there will be forced evictions, not by landlords but by government.

    Suzy OShea

    Andrew Townshend,

    Why will the government evict in 2028 please?

     
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    Suzy - by driving out all the good Landlords who will sell up as a result of the anti Landlord policies

     
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    Because Suzy it will be illegal to rent any property under an EPC 'C' to any existing tenant, so it will be the government forced evictions

     
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    These activist people seem to have invented a problem that simply doesn't exist for the vast majority of tenancies. As Emily says we already have periodic tenancies and as Michael says they walk any time they want.

    Apart from students all of my tenancies start as 6 month ASTs and then become Statutory Periodic. Some of my tenants have been in more than 10 years. Even in HMOs some have been over 5 years. When they want to leave I ask them what date they really mean (not necessarily the date the tenancy agreement specifies). Then advertise the property to best accommodate their actual moving out date. They're only liable for the rent until the new tenant moves in or the end of their notice period or a date in-between that allows time for redecorating. So this often saves them a couple of weeks rent and minimises voids.
    Student housing is let for an academic year. If someone doesn't fit the household dynamic I will assist them with finding a replacement and assigning their bit of the tenancy. I always offer existing groups the opportunity of renewing for the following year, either as the same complete group or with some changes. One house rolled on for 6 years in this way before it was fully vacated. Occasionally upon graduation a student tenant will move into one of my other HMOs. One of my ex students has been with me for about 8 years now.

    The danger of having no minimum tenancy period is that we all assume new tenants are only going to stay a week and increase the rent accordingly. We've already seen how that plays out with the rise of holiday lets and AirBnB.

    In effect my tenants already have what the activists are campaigning for. The only difference is I have the right to evict them should I choose to. No good landlord is going to evict a good tenant unless their personal circumstances give them no alternative. What we will do is not increase our portfolios and sell off properties as they become vacant if we don't have the ability to evict. It needs to be a workable system that is fair to both parties.
    As Tricia says we're the PRS not Social Housing.

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    We already have open ended tenancies. The initial 6 month term provides a bit of stability for both landlords and tenants after which a periodic tenancy kicks in. I have tenants that have been in for 10 years but can leave with a month's notice and I have no intention of giving notice as they pay the rent on time and look after the property. These activists probably live with Mum And Dad and have no idea about the rental market.

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    Right as previously said more or less if you have a group of friends and one needs to move it’s never been a problem, the replacement person takes over the remainder of the Tenancy from out going Tenant until a new Tenancy can be put in place when it expires and the Government has said this year’s ago and that no reasonable request should be refused, at the same time if no one moves and same Tenants remain as on Tenancy Agreement then it can run as Periodic for ages as long as there is no change in the occupancy. What all the shouting about and lobbying House of Commons trying to create mischief.

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    The Renter’s Reform Coalition of 20 Groups including Shelter that doesn’t supply Housing wants to dictate to millions of LL‘s how everything should be, until they supply Housing they should have no sway and why should Parliament entertain them over the heads of Private Landlords that House millions, made a huge financial commitment by investment’ in many cases their life savings & last penny plus all the sacrifices made for years. for what ? to be classed as Rogue’s and fair game for anyone to take a pot at, there needs to be a reality check here.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    . Big question is - WHERE, is the Landlords Reform Coalition ???

    I've suggested to All regional Landlord groups and ARLA that they need to unite, like the renters reform groups have done.

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    OK so there is a lot of knowledge between all of us. I have been a LL for 20 years - many of you much longer. We know the history and legislation backwards and why a lot of what the Govt are suggesting is destructive and not in the best interests of decent tenants. Why cannot we just get together and pull in as many people as we can via social media and other routes and form our own pressure group?

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    Social media and going viral to take notice!! That’s the way to go!!!!

    We have to record videos of each of us speaking out our thoughts, how unfair all this is for GOOD landlords, and feels illegal, and broadcast it on social media and make a propaganda to see how many people that reaches!!

     
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    I am not a big fan of ARLA who have not been around very long but they look after their own which is Estate Agents, that said we desperately need some one to represent us. This is crazy all those Groups make all the rules and supply no Housing how mad is that. We have millions of LL’s housing millions of Tenants in the Private Landlord Rented Industry worth £1.3 trillion (think about that) and not Represented or even consulted just one scam after another, how can that ever be with so much at stake, we have small LL Associations the biggest of which has less than 100 thousand members what use is that. We should be permanently represented in Parliament and consulted properly on decision making not this pretend here say consultation we have been subjected to in the past, where a guy comes from York and tells us what he’s bringing in.

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    We are all of the same mind, It would be a good idea to
    a) Draft a log letter with the landlord's view and conditions i.e a right to evict when a tenant has failed in their tenancy
    b) a register of rouge tenants
    c) 0Make the draft as long as possible with a few "through away clauses"
    d) make further demands of own own
    e) explain what such numbers are leaving or going to leave
    Send this letter out on your site with a list of MPs' email address that should receive it including the activist groups
    Then let us copy name the document and send it off and ask for a response



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    We should do this too and propagate on social media

     
  • John  Adams

    Be interesting to see what the likes of John Lewis and the other big players will make of any such regulations? Already tenants are facing rent increases because of selective licensing and the changes to EPC losing even more available properties is only going to force rents up, while any rent controls will reduce supply to rarer than a hen's teeth, cripplingly local employment as people are unable to find homes.

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    • C S
    • 26 March 2022 12:37 PM

    All the activism around the PRS is ridiculous. How can these groups not see that the only possible result of their "demands" being enforced would be a mass exodus from the PRS and a housing crisis of equal proportion.
    It seems to be impossible for people to understand that, if they are not the owner of a property, they are simply not entitled to dictate what the owner may or may not do with said property.

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    Absolutely and completely disgusting to even suggest this. Already been winding down some of the portfolio and I will continue to do so...

    Landlords time to wind down all our portfolios and sick it properly to renters and the market.

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    In the long run, they want the private landlords out. The huge companies will definitely set up huge rents. They will lobby the government with various data prepared about how the properties were presented during check in and how it deteriorated by the tenants over a year to 5 years without any maintenance in between like painting, etc. I use the opportunity if addressing various issues in between tenancies. The worst situation has been when students have stayed 2 years, burnt window sills, carpets and walls. Deposit is insufficient to restore the property. Why, as landlords we do not lobby the government by organising this for days every year, just as tenants lobbied about the unfair letting fees.

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    I think we should start lobbying all our arguments together into social media and as someone suggested, send to all the MPs for every constituency through social media and printed letters:
    NO USE WAITING FOR ASSOCIATIONS!!! Each of us create videos and talk and record and post it?????? Anyone know how to put those together onto social media under one heading and make it viral? Add new videos every day to bring it to attention???

    The landlord:

    The rightful owner of a property should be able to do what ever they wish to do with their property - chose to let, choose their tenant, choose whether they want pets in it for any million reasons of their own, should be able to evict bad tenants with the tenants having to prove their innocence, have the right to fix tenancies to any period of time that they wish that is mutually agreed with the tenants on a legally binding contract by both sides, so both the tenant and the landlord are committed to the period.

    The tenants, renting homes,

    should have the right to live in the property for the mutually agreed period, peaceful living, have the right to a decent home as long as they take care of the property, and demand repairs needed from the landlord to maintain the property to be fit for habitation, but will need to provide evidence if necessary that any problem, including disrepair, mould and mildew, or ASB was not caused by them - because it is only fair as they are the ones living in the property, and not the landlord - so the landlord should not be the one to have to prove it.

    The Government

    For the landlords - can and should enforce safety standards to ensure that the properties that are rented out are physically safe for the tenants, and the landlords keep the properties in good repair and keep up with safety checks to ensure the house is safe

    No Government should be able to enforce acts where the rightful owner of a property, who has invested their own money, time and effort to acquire it and run the business at their own risk - and who is the only person that will go down the drain if anything happens to his investment, has no say or power over what they do with their property. NO OTH£R BUSINESS OR TRADE is treated this way, hence it will be totally illegal and unfair if any policy towards a business lets a Government take complete control over a personal investment or sector in this way! Government dictating these policies is not DEMOCRACY - this is pure DICTATORSHIP!! This could be illegal. End of the day, the person who foots the bill should have their say in the business they run! The government does not have a say what an electrician, a plumber or a builder or superstore charges for their service or goods! So why do landords need to be dictated about the service they provide?

    For the tenants -

    can and should enforce rules that make sure they respect the property and take good care of it, and if there is any maintenance issues, require them to prove that it was not caused by them on the first place as they are the ones living in the property and not the landlord, and rules to enforce rents being paid on time and penalties if not. In case of ASB, prove that they have not indulged in such behaviour, not for the landlord to prove it if a complaint is received.

    Any Government’s ONLY job, in the rental sector should be the safety of the properties and the tenants living in the rental properties - and should enforce rules towards how to do that! Which has already been done in the form of licensing for HMOs where safety might be a concern.

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    Everyone of us say our story of becoming a landlord - the struggles we have gone through to invest, to provide decent homes, our bad tenant stories etc etc……. This will work! If we do this every day, more people will join us and it will become big.

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