Shelter says government must deliver on longer tenancies

Shelter says government must deliver on longer tenancies

Shelter - the campaigning charity many feel has had influence on government policies for the lettings sector - has now turned around and criticised the Housing White Paper for not going far enough on rental reform. 

The issue over which the charity is upset is the government's commitment to longer tenancies, described in the White Paper as 'family-friendly'.

After the White Paper was released, the housing minister Gavin Barwell clarified that the prospect of three year tenancies would apply to housing associations, local authorities and institutional investors developing homes in the Build To Rent sector - but it would not apply to Buy To Let properties.

In other words, only a proportion of renters will have three year tenancy options - not all tenants, as some interpreted the government's intentions in recent weeks.

"In contrast to the letting fees ban, the meat of the proposals [for longer tenancies] don't really live up to the ambition" complains the latest blog on Shelter's website.

"They will likely mean that only a few thousand of England's 11m renters are able to get a more secure tenancy, when millions need it. There is a major risk that the contrast between the hype and promise of more security and renters' lived experience will leave renting families feeling angry and frustrated" the blog continues.

But the blog says the charity will continue with its campaign to extend longer tenancies across the whole private rented sector, including buy to let.

"Over the coming months we will be working to try to get the government walking the walk as well as talking the talk" it says, adding: "Under the current legal setup, private renting families face the prospect of being forced to move every year or six months at the end of their existing contract. That just isn't fit for the growing number of people who are being forced into private renting with no option to buy or rent an affordable home."

As an example of the charity's frustration, its head of housing development - Toby Lloyd - tweeted Gavin Barwell saying it was "very disappointing" that longer tenancies would be restricted to the relatively small number of tenants in Build To Rent accommodation. 

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