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

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.


6.1 This short concluding chapter sets out a brief summary of the views expressed by both the tenants and landlords who contributed to this research. Participants were asked for their views on a range of key issues relating to the current tenancy regime and possible changes to it. The views expressed were varied and had often been carefully considered; it was clear to the research team that many of the participants held very strong views on the issues being discussed but that they nevertheless sought to offer a balanced and constructive contribution to the research.

6.2 It was also clear that participants were drawing on a broad and varied range of experiences and that these experiences, along with their future hopes and plans, were a powerful influence. Although most participants were clear that the tenant-landlord relationship is essentially a business one, it was also clear that a range of emotions, particularly connected to trust and feelings of powerlessness, were often in play.


6.3 Despite their varied profile - in terms of number and locations of properties owned for example - the 43 landlords who contributed to the research tended to hold very similar views on the 'bigger' issues. The landlords' position can be summarised as follows:

  • The SAT regime broadly works well and fundamental changes are not required.
  • The arrangements for issuing a SAT, and the tenancy documents themselves, can be lengthy and complicated and there may be a case for simplification.
  • The initial fixed tenancy period, with the current minimum at 6 months, plays a key role in allowing landlords to operate a viable business. Even those who have never needed to end a tenancy at the end of the period, value the safety net it offers them.
  • Both the current notice period and grounds for possession also generally work well, although there may be a case for tightening up the grounds relating to rent arrears. In terms of repossessing a property, the problems lie with the processes that have to be gone through rather than the grounds themselves.
  • Rather than making changes to the tenancy regime, the focus should be on taking action against landlords who are not complying with the legislation and regulations.


6.4 The views of tenants were more varied, although did divide into two broad positions depending on whether the tenant expected to live in the sector for a relatively short while or whether they anticipated living in private rented accommodation in the longer term.

6.5 The shorter-term, transitional tenants tended to hold the following views:

  • The SAT regime appears to work reasonably well and offers them the flexibility that is generally very important to them.
  • The tenancy documentation can be both long and complicated. A simplified approach based on a model document may help counter the natural inclination not to read the small print.
  • The initial tenancy period offers a welcome period to test out both the landlord and the property. If things are not working out, looking for an alternative property is both a realistic but also a preferred option.
  • The ability to both access but also move on from a property relatively quickly is important, particularly if needing to make a work-related move or buying a property.
  • The grounds for repossession generally seem fair and balanced.

6.6 The longer-term tenants tended to hold the following views:

  • For many, the major problems are around property condition and getting repairs carried out. Other considerations, such as concerns about lack of security of the tenancy, are often secondary.
  • However, lack of security can be of critical concern to some, and particularly to those who feel they have few if any other options. Lack of security tended to be most keenly felt by those with strong previous connections to the social rented sector. These tenants would like to see changes which afford them greater security.
  • The tenancy documentation can be both long and complicated. A simplified approach based on a model document may help counter the natural inclination not to read the small print.
  • The grounds for repossession are broadly fair, although a tenant should not be penalised for delays or mistakes in processing LHA.
  • There may be a case for offering tenants longer notice periods, although not for requiring tenants to give longer notice.
  • Tenants are not in a position to 'take on' their landlords and tackle issues associated with poor condition or other breaches of tenancy legislation or regulation. Alterations to the tenancy regime will not change this.


Email: Elinor Findlay

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