The Localism Act has introduced what the Government describes as ‘the most radical shake up of social housing for 50 years’. The most radical change is the introduction of fixed-term tenancies into ‘general needs’ social housing.
Social landlords will no longer be required to let homes on the most secure form of tenure possible. Instead the legislation allows them to let to new tenants on fixed-term tenancies of as little as two years – although the Government has directed that the minimum fixed term should be five years, apart from in unspecified ‘exceptional circumstances’.
Shelter has strongly opposed the removal of security of tenure in general needs social housing. The conversion of existing social rented homes, let on a permanent, secure basis, to homes let on fixed-term tenancies must not be undertaken lightly. To be justified, such a policy must deliver substantial benefits, particularly to people most in need of a home, and minimise the risk of unintended consequences.
This report explores the context and arguments surrounding fixed-term tenancies in the social sector and suggests what should be considered when preparing Tenancy Strategies and landlord Tenancy Policies.