Security and stability

toddler standing next to cardboard packing boxShelter believes that for a house to be a home, it needs to be stable. But for many of the nine million private renters in England, this simply isn’t the case.

Renters rarely get a contract for longer than 6-12 months, after which they can be evicted by their landlord without reason with only two months’ notice.

The result is a life of upheaval and uncertainty. Private renters are eleven times more likely to move than homeowners – and almost half are worried that their landlord will end their contract before they’re ready to go.

Children can’t get a stable education living in private rented homes if they’re moving regularly and changing schools, sometimes during exam periods. This kind of lifestyle is also bad for communities and unexpected evictions are a major cause of homelessness.

The drawbacks of short tenancies

The Housing Act 1996 made assured shorthold tenancies the standard for people renting privately.

With six-month contracts the norm, renters aren’t getting what they need to put down roots and settle into their home.

There’s a lack of stability for tenants, less power to enforce their rights and increased homelessness as a result of eviction. The ending of an assured shorthold tenancy is the second most common reason for losing a home among households accepted as homeless, as this Government table shows.

Shelter's reponse

Private renters don’t have the stability they need to call their house a home. Shelter believes this situation is unacceptable.

We call on the Government to:

  • Encourage landlords and letting agents to adopt the Stable Rental Contract as the main contract available to renters.
    This would ensure renters can stay in their homes for up to five years, secure in the knowledge that they can settle down. It would also tackle the high number of evictions under short-term tenancies and give renters more predictability in their rent increases.
  • Improve training for landlords and letting agents to ensure they follow their legal requirements, including the provision of written agreements for all tenancies.

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