A consumer watchdog is calling for buy to let landlords to give tenants with children longer rental agreements.

Citizens Advice has disclosed 40% of families renting with children have less than six months to run on their agreements.

Research by the charity shows that at least a third would like the security of a longer tenancy so they did not have to move home and schools so often.

Citizens Advice says families comprise around four in every 10 buy to let rentals – about 1.5 million households nationwide.

These renters told researchers:

  • The insecurity of having to move at short notice made planning harder for 60% of families
  • More than a third felt they could not find another suitable home within their rental agreement notice period
  • Nearly half (46%) revealed they would prefer not having to move so often

The charity also claimed family tenants had complaints about the quality of their homes.

  • 52% had damp or condensation issues
  • 28% had doors or windows that would not lock
  • 20% of homes had faulty electrics

Chief Executive Gillian Guy said: “The challenges of living in the private rented sector can be even more acute for people with children.

“Families are living under a cloud of uncertainty. This can make planning, such as where your child can go to school, a real struggle.

“With home ownership on the decline, the private rented sector needs a major overhaul. While there are signs of progress – such as the ban letting agent fees – but action is needed to improve security of tenure for private tenants as well as the quality of private rented homes.”

The government has rejected proposals for mandatory five year tenancy agreements following a consultation with landlords, tenants and other property experts.

The grounds included a lack of interest from landlords and tenants and a view that renters could already agree longer tenancies if they wished under current rules.