Lifelong council tenancies to be ‘phased out’

Under new proposed amendments to the Housing and Planning Bill, council house tenancies could be limited to a maximum of five years, phasing out lifelong agreements. 

However, the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) has called for local authorities to be allowed flexibility in deciding on housing tenancies at a local level. 

David Pipe, CIH policy and practice officer, said the decision should lie with individual landlords, who should be allowed to decide based on what is appropriate for their area. Furthermore, the option of longer tenancies should be allowed to provide tenants with more security. 

He said: “We strongly feel that it would have been preferable to have given landlords the option of longer terms for several reasons - they offer more security for tenants (particularly, for example, those with young children), they help to create more settled and successful communities and they also reduce the administrative burden of carrying out regular reviews for landlords.

“More generally there is a risk that shorter tenancies could create uncertainty and instability for tenants and make it more difficult for housing professionals to help build sustainable, settled communities.”

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government insisted the changes would improve local authorities abilities to provide social housing ‘for those who need it most, as long as they need it’.

They said: “This is about ensuring we make the best use of our social housing, and that tenancies change as needs change.

“We want to support households to make the transition into home ownership where they can.”