Lifetime tenancies may no longer be available to new social housing tenants

It was revealed at the end of October that the Government plans to scrap lifetime tenancies for new social housing tenants in favour of fixed-term contacts.

Whilst councils and housing associations have been able to offer five-year fixed-term tenancies since 2012 – the numbers doing so are low. According to official figures* , just 13% of new general needs social housing lets were made on a fixed-term basis in 2014/15, compared with 9% in 2013/14.

This move is likely to mean that those no longer eligible for social housing may look to move to properties which are offered at market rent in the private sector. This migration from social to private housing will allow those who are desperately in need of accommodation to gain a home.

It’s widely recognised that there is not enough social housing to meet demand. The Chartered Institute of Housing** estimates that around 120,000 social homes have been lost in the past three years.

Therefore what is available should go to the most vulnerable. Lifetime tenancies may stop this happening as people who may not be the neediest in society are able to live there as long as they want, therefore taking up social homes that could be used for someone else.

In the private sector ‘assured tenancies’ are rare; however, we offer assured tenancy rents on the majority of properties to those aged 55 and over and have done so for over 20 years, recognising that the older sector of the market is looking for the peace of mind that comes from knowing that they can rent their property for as long as they choose.

Under an assured tenancy it is the tenant that chooses to give notice after the requisite period and move on, however the landlord cannot give notice, unless the terms of the tenancy have been breached.

With Government wanting to scrap lifetime tenancies for new social housing tenants we believe there is a viable option for non-vulnerable older people to move out of social housing into private rented retirement accommodation.

Given we are an ageing population, it’s likely more older people will have to rent in the private sector in the future so it’s reassuring they can do so with Girlings on an assured tenancy.

*http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/business/tenancy/tenants/government-set-to-scrap-lifetime-tenancies/7012475.article?utm_source=Housing60&utm_medium=email&utm_content=article_link&utm_campaign=H60
**http://www.cih.org/news-article/display/vpathDCR/templatedata/cih/news-article/data/Even_more_social_rented_homes_lost_in_2014_than_in_2013

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