Publication - Research and analysis

Qualitative research to explore the implications for private rented sector tenants and landlords of longer term and moresecure tenancy

Published: 12 Mar 2014
Part of:
Research
ISBN:
9781784123284

This report outlines findings from qualitative research exploring private rented sector tenants' and landlords' knowledge and understanding of the current tenancy, including its advantages and disadvantages. It outlines tenants' and landlords' views and responses to a range of longer term and more secure tenancy options, including the perceived advantages and disadvantages of each.

56 page PDF

679.4 kB

56 page PDF

679.4 kB

Contents
Qualitative research to explore the implications for private rented sector tenants and landlords of longer term and moresecure tenancy
Appendix 3

56 page PDF

679.4 kB

Appendix 3

Discussion Schedule - Landlords

Notes to discussion leaders:

  • Please take copies of the CEC Model Tenancy agreement, an AT5 and of the 'grounds for possession' (set out below) to the discussion.
  • The schedule assumes the discussion will last for around 60-90 minutes.
  • It will be important to keep the focus of the discussion on the tenancy regime (unless there is a clear relationship between the issue and the tenancy regime).
  • If any of the participants are also agents, try to keep the focus on their landlord role.
  • Issues to look out for and explore if appropriate/relevant:
    • Whether views etc are shaped by own or others experiences.
    • Whether the use of an agent seems to affect landlords' understanding/views;
    • Whether being a reluctant/accidental landlord affects people's understanding, experiences/views.
    • Whether the rural/small town urban dimension affects views, including whether those with properties in a mix of areas see different approaches as preferable according to the location of their properties.

Introductions

  • Introductions and 'housekeeping' (emergency exits etc)
  • Brief overview of purpose of research and how findings will be used.
  • Agreement to record (including explanation of how recording will be used, stored and destroyed).
  • Agreement to Chatham House rules.

Theme 1 - The current assured and short assured tenancy arrangements

  • Clarify what type of tenancies landlords are using. If using SAT, check that AT5 issued (including to all tenants named on the agreement).
  • If using SAT, briefly discuss the choice - what are the expected advantages/benefits for a landlord of using the SAT?
  • Are there any disadvantages or drawbacks with using a SAT?
  • [If using Assured, explore why? 'Accident' because correct paperwork was not issued or deliberate? If deliberate, what were the reasons?]
  • Is the current legislation easy to understand and implement, particularly in terms of the documentation required to set up and maintain a short assured [or assured tenancy]?
    • Are the AT5 rules clear?
    • Are you aware of the 'serving prior grounds rules'?
    • Is it clear what is required of a tenancy agreement?
    • Do you find your own tenancy agreement easy to understand? If not, explore whether that has led to any issues/problems, including misunderstanding between landlord and tenant.
  • Overall, are you confident that you are 'getting it right'? If yes, what has given you that confidence (training, using of an agent etc)? If no, what concerns does this give rise to?
  • Are there any aspects of the current tenancy arrangements that you think work particularly well? If changes were to be made, are there any specific components you would like to see retained and why?
  • What works less well and are there any specific components you would like to see changed?
  • As part of that process and reflecting any changes made, would a 'Model Tenancy Agreement' be a possible/helpful way forward?
    • Do you already use a Model Tenancy and is so, where did you source it from?
    • If a 'national' Model Tenancy' were developed, what key features would you be looking to see? (i.e. S.G. sanctioning is relevant, currency, ease of understanding etc)?
    • If not a helpful way forward, why not? What are your concerns?

Theme 2 - Length of Tenancies

  • Briefly discuss what is happening at the moment. Are tenancies tending to 'roll over' for as long as the tenant wishes to stay? Are certain types of tenants staying longer or moving on more quickly? Briefly explore whether patterns appear to be as would be expected i.e. students/young professionals using as short-term, families etc using as longer term, patterns suggesting pressure on SRS.
  • If landlords are ending tenancies after 6 months, why? In terms of how long a tenancy lasts, what is most important to you as a landlord and why? Explore issues around:
    • Maintaining revenue stream and avoiding rent loss periods
    • Property being well looked after
    • Keeping flexibility and the option to take possession of the property - if so why e.g. might wish to move in; family might want to move in; might want to sell the property etc?
  • If tenancies are tending to last longer than 6 months, what processes are you using (new SAT, month-by-month roll over)?
  • Do your preferences as a landlord seem to fit with what existing or prospective tenants are looking for? Do you discuss length of tenancy with new tenants?
  • If the length of tenancies was being reviewed (essentially the SAT 6 month period), what would be the most important characteristics that any new regime would need to have to work for both landlords and tenants? (Note: specifics discussed below, focus on core characteristics). Explore:
    • Flexibility
    • Security
    • Balance between the two
    • Other……
  • How would you feel about fixed tenancy periods that ran for longer than 6 months, for example for 12 or 24 months? Under such circumstances, what types of conditions or safeguards would be important to you and your business? Explore:
    • Grounds for possession (note - specific grounds discussed in greater detail below)
    • Notice periods (note - specific grounds discussed in greater detail below)
    • Rent increase processes (for example, annual RPI-related, principle set out in tenancy etc)
    • Ability to have a trial period
    • Demand, impact on including potential to stifle from some types of tenants
    • Other…...
  • In many countries there are no pre-determined or fixed tenancy periods. Tenancies continue indefinitely until the landlord seeks repossession or the tenant gives reasonable notice. Again, under such circumstances, what types of conditions or safeguards would be important to you and your business? Explore:
    • Grounds for possession (note - specific grounds discussed in greater detail below)
    • Notice periods (note - specific grounds discussed in greater detail below)
    • Rent increase processes (for example, annual RPI-related, principle set out in tenancy etc)
    • Ability to have a trial period
    • Demand, impact on including potential to stifle from some types of tenants
    • Other…...

Theme 3 - Balance between landlord and tenant rights.

  • Overall, do you feel that the current arrangements strike the right balance between the interests of both landlords and tenants? If not, who is being advantaged or disadvantaged and in what way?
  • In particular, do think the current 'grounds for possession' that apply to a SAT and an Assured Tenancy are fit for purpose? If not, why not? If the balance is not right, do you think the issue is with the tenancy regime itself or about the processes that are in place to enable repossession? Have copy of grounds available in case required. Explore:
    • Have you ever sought possession and why?
    • If yes, did the process work well/less well and how?
    • If you haven't, but might have liked to, what was it that held you back?
  • What (if any changes) would you like to see? Explore:
    • Should the mandatory 'no fault' ground stay or go and why?
    • Are there any issues arising from the mandatory/discretionary division?
    • Are there any grounds that should not be there?
    • Are there any grounds that are missing?
  • Have you ever had a tenant abandon one of your properties? How easy/difficult was this to deal with? Have you any suggestions on changing the powers that private landlords have to deal with an abandoned property?
  • How would you feel about linking notice periods with how long the tenant has been living in the property? (For example, if someone had lived in a period for more than a year, they would be entitled to a longer notice period, possibly on a sliding scale up to a maximum period). If such an approach was being considered, what 'principles' should underpin it? What could be the pros and cons (from both a landlord and tenant perspective) of such an approach? Explore:
    • Reciprocity
    • Reasonable levels/thresholds
    • Other….
  • Do you have any (other) suggestions as to how the tenancy regime could be changed to encourage constructive relationships between landlords and their tenants? Explore:
    • Perceptions that tenants may be concerned to raise 'quality' issues in case their tenancy is not renewed.
    • Any ways the tenancy regime could assist in promoting open dialogue.

Next steps, thank yous and close


Contact

Email: Elinor Findlay