Getting turfed out? Campaigners demand 5-year contracts for private tenants

By staff

Tenants should be given five-year guarantees in their homes to deal with the insecurity of the private rental market, campaigns said today.

The call comes months after many London tenants were turfed out of their homes by private landlords hoping to capitalise on the Olympics.

"With a generation priced out of home ownership, renting is the only choice for growing numbers of people," Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, which produced the report, said.

"But with the possibility of eviction with just two months' notice, and constant worries about when the next rent rise will hit, the current rental market isn't giving people – particularly families – the stability they need to put down roots."

The charity's 'stable rental contract' policy would give tenants a five-year guaranteed contract with rent increasing in line with inflation each year, giving landlords predictable incomes and renters predictable outgoings.

The charity said the plan allows landlords to throw out genuinely bad tenants and end the tenancy if they sell the property, while giving tenants the flexibility of two-month notice periods if they intend to leave.

Over the last 15 years, the number of people who rent their home from a landlord has almost doubled to 8.5 million people, and nearly a third of renters are families with children.

Shelter’s research suggests 35% of renting families worry about their landlord ending their contract before they're ready to move out, with one describing their experience of renting as "walking on eggshells".

One in four renters don't consider a rented home a suitable place to bring up children.

Two-thirds said they would like the option of staying in their home long-term, but the current average stay in a rented home is just 20 months.