HAs to scrap fixed-term tenancies

Housing Associations are turning their backs on fixed-term tenancies and returning to the previous regime of granting permanent tenancies to their residents. L&Q was the first major social landlord to make the decision, converting all of its existing 8,500 fixed-term tenancies to lifetime tenancies. Its chief executive David Montague, said that fixed-term tenancies were a “crude tool” that caused “unnecessary worry” for residents.

That decision has sparked a flurry of debates among the boards and executive teams at many HAs. Fixed-term tenancies were introduced by the Localism Act in 2012. Typically these last for one, three or five years, with options for them to be renewed if the property is still appropriate for the tenant’s circumstances. However, not all HAs are expected to follow the example of L&Q. Kate Davies, chief executive of Notting Hill Genesis and Mark Henderson, chief executive of Home Group, have both said their organisations would not be scrapping fixed-term tenancies. “I don’t think it does make people feel unsettled. You have to give that good quality housing management a caring and compassionate approach. I don’t think the idea that we’re going and telling people they’ll be out in five years has ever been our way of using it,” said Ms Davies.

Mr Henderson said the system was under “constant evaluation” but added: “We haven’t picked up concerns from our customers because we’ve been very clear that if you pay your rent, don’t commit anti-social behaviour, then there’s no issue with renewing your tenancy. It works pretty well for Home Group at the moment.” During the launch of consultation on the Social Housing Green Paper, the Government announced it was dropping its proposal to scrap lifetime tenancies in favour of rolling fixed-term tenancies for all new social housing tenants

By Patrick Mooney, editor