New two-year tenancy agreements

The government has unveiled a model shorthold tenancy agreement – voluntary in nature – which could be used when landlords and tenants want to agree something like a two year tenancy instead of the current standard six or 12 months.

Revealed by housing minister Brandon Lewis at the RESI14 conference at Newport, Gwent, the move steals the thunder from Labour, which in the spring spoke of its desire to move the private rented sector towards longer tenancies.

The tenancy agreement is available free of charge and in full on the DCLG website. It runs to 38 pages in total and includes landlords’ and tenants’ checklists, key dates in any tenancy, and the agreement in principle.

It also offers guidance on elements that are critical to lengthening the standard tenancy – how to give prior notice to tenants of grounds for possession, the landlord’s possible break clause, especially for the purpose of selling a property, and some suggestions about rent reviews.

Lewis told the RESI14 conference that the government’s guiding principles were to make such tenancies – and as many other measures as possible – voluntary rather than mandatory, as the vast majority of landlords and tenants behaved honourably and had perfectly amiable dealings throughout tenancies.

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