MHCLG have issued their consultation on ‘Overcoming the barriers to longer tenancies in the private rented sector’. The closing date is 26 August 2018.
You may have seen this trailed as bringing in three year term assured shorthold tenancies. It may be, but legislating for that is only one of the options canvassed, others include financial incentives for landlords to offer longer tenancies and the always popular ‘education and guidance’.
The main proposal is a three year term with a six month ‘break clause’ for both parties. After that, tenant can give notice at any stage, but during the term, the landlord can only serve notice on Housing Act 1988 Schedule 2 grounds, to which may be added ‘selling the property’ or ‘LL moving into the property themselves’.
There are questions posed about rent increases (if any), notice periods and possible exclusions for students or similar where a long term may be inappropriate.
There is also mention of a ‘call for evidence’ later in the year on how the courts and tribunals handle housing matters, with MHCLG apparently working ‘closely with the judiciary’, and mention again of a putative housing court. We’ll see where that one goes, because my view is that if it looks like it might cost the MoJ money (and it certainly would) it will be a non-starter.
Nonetheless, the consultation is very interesting and people should respond. Intriguingly, there is a question on the effectiveness of the ‘retaliatory eviction’ provisions, which didn’t really need to be in there. I rather hope this heralds a review of those provisions, because they have been (as my consultation response will point out) rather pointless, due to the specific trigger factor.