The government is readying a consultation aimed at finding out why buy to let landlords fail to offer longer tenancies.

Housing under-secretary Lord Bourne announced the move in response to a written question in the Lords.

Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked: “What assessment they have made of the costs and benefits of introducing five-year minimum contracts for rented accommodation, to provide greater security for families?”

Lord Bourne explained the government wanted to look at ways buy to let tenants can stay in their homes for longer.

“The government is committed to protecting the rights of tenants and giving them more security,” he said. “

“We will shortly be launching a consultation seeking views on the benefits and barriers to landlords offering longer tenancies in the private rented sector. This work will inform any next steps, including costs, of how we can support landlords to offer more secure tenancies.”

The consultation was last mentioned in Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s Autumn Budget 2017 when he hinted tax incentives might encourage landlords to let tenants stay in their rented homes for longer.

“The government will consult on the barriers to landlords offering longer, more secure tenancies to those tenants who want them,” he told MPs at the time.

Letting restrictions put in place by mortgage lenders are a perceived obstacle to landlords offering longer tenancy agreements.

But this is no longer the case, according to the now defunct Council of Mortgage Lenders, which was swallowed by UK Finance in July 2017.

At least a dozen lenders responsible for around half of buy to let borrowing will allow tenancies of up to 36 months.

And around half of Britain’s 5.6 million private rented homes have no mortgage, which means the landlord is free to set the terms of tenancy.