A recent call from housing charity Shelter to extend the timeframe of minimum length tenancy agreements for shared properties has been met with a negative response from tenants.
Shelter has recently outlined its belief that contracts should last for at least five years. Despite not being the first organisation to call for longer agreements, with Housing Voice recently calling for at least two-year sharing tenancies, it would seem that the renting public does not share this view.
Renters do not Want Longer Tenancies
Not in favour
In response to the claim from Shelter, flat and house share website SpareRoom questioned 1,000 of its users on the issue. The results were unanimous, with only 10% in favour of Shelter’s wishes. A huge majority of 82% were against the calls, with 8% remaining neutral. 
SpareRoom’s director Matt Hutchinson, is concerned that longer contracts will lead to anxiety amongst tenants. He said: “Extended contracts make people anxious, because they think they’ll be locked in for longer and the landlord will be able to increase rents at any point.”
Hutchinson was also sympathetic to why tenants may feel anxious towards any proposed changes, saying: “Given that one of the benefits of renting is the flexibility to relocate to another area or a more suitable property if circumstances change, we can understand why people might be wary of longer contracts.”
Mr Hutchinson is also wary that any moves to longer tenancies could see landlords facing further restrictions on the tenants that they can take on. He states: “Flat sharers also voiced concerns that a 24-month tenancy could place further restrictions on the tenants landlords will accept as they seek to reduce their risk, with stricter rules on deposits and guarantors.”
He goes on to say: “Many landlords would be happy to extend tenancies for good tenants but are precluded from doing so by mortgage lender restrictions.
“Landlords have voiced their concerns around the provision of longer tenancies, which included the difficulty of evicting bad tenants in the event they damage property or fail to pay their rent.”
Hutchinson’s concern is for the housing market as a whole, as he points out: “A change to rental contracts that discouraged investment in property for rent could in turn serve to exacerbate the housing crisis rather than to resolve it.”