Politicians, lobby groups and the buy to let industry seem to have a different view of how longer tenancies will help private renters.
The government, backed by housing charities and think tanks, wants to extend tenancy terms from 12 months to 36 months to give renters extra security in their homes.
But landlords and mortgage lenders argue the move is unnecessary.
The figures from buy to let mortgage lenders back this view.
Most tenancy agreements are granted for six or 12 month and resort to a rolling contract giving tenants a one-month notice period, while landlords must give two months’ notice.
UK Finance, the trade body for most of the UK’s buy to let lenders says despite the short tenancy agreement, most renters stay in their home for just over four years.
The government suggests a 36-month agreement should come with a six-month probation period that allows the landlord or tenant to break the agreement for any reason.
The tenancy would then run for three years with the renter giving two month’s notice. The landlord could raise the rent during the term of the contract, but only by an agreed amount.
UK Finance foresees some drawbacks with the proposal.
“One concern lenders have is that the proposal has the potential to shift risk of eviction for tenants from late in the tenancy to early on. Landlords may be reluctant to continue tenancies beyond six months for any tenant they perceive to be problematic, which could ultimately exacerbate the problem of housing insecurity for certain tenants,” says Carla Sateriale, the body’s mortgage manager.
“Additionally, tenants could see increased rental costs as a result if landlords seek higher rents to cover the contingency that their costs may increase during the term of the tenancy.”
She also points out that tenants have little legal recourse to exercise their rights and landlords face time-consuming and costly court proceedings to evict a tenant.