Tenants will be able to request longer tenancies that provide stability for their family, avoid hidden fees when renting a home and demand a fair deal from their landlords and letting agents, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has announced.
He said the government is determined to match support for home ownership with steps to improve the rental market, without strangling the sector with unnecessary rules and red tape.
Currently most rental agreements last between six and 12 months. But the new package of measures aims to ensure sensible reforms are made to the sector, so tenants can get the best deal when they rent a home.
A model tenancy agreement, developed with the sector, will clearly set out the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords, and provide the rental market with an industry benchmark for written tenancy agreements.
Pickles said that the model agreement will ensure families can benefit from longer tenancies, without changing the existing legal framework for the rental market and longer tenancies will give families greater certainty and security, especially for those with children at school, and reduce costs for both tenants and landlords who will not have to pay letting agents to arrange frequent contract renewals.
Tenants will be able to access better information so they know the types of tenancies they can request and a tenants' charter will ensure all tenants know what to expect from their tenancy and, if something goes wrong, where to go for help.
The charter will include greater transparency about lettings agents' fees, helping to stop unreasonable practices and unfair charges, and ensuring would be tenants know the full costs before they sign up to any contract.
It will work alongside the new compulsory redress schemes for lettings agents, which will be able to investigate agents that have not been clear about fees and, where a complaint is upheld, require compensation is paid to the tenant.
‘The private rented market is a vital asset to this country, and plays an important role providing flexible accommodation for those who do not want to buy, or are saving up for a deposit. The last thing we want to do is hurt hard working tenants by increasing costs and strangling the sector with red tape. But families deserve stability for their children, and all tenants deserve a good and transparent service from their landlords and lettings agents,’ said Pickles.
‘These proposals will raise the quality and choice of rental accommodation, root out the cowboys and rogue operators in the sector, and give tenants the confidence to request longer fixed term, family friendly tenancies that meet their needs,’ he added.
He also pointed out that the changes will support existing measures to attract new investment into the sector, including the new Private Rented Sector Taskforce, which is promoting the Build to Rent Fund and the...
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