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Shapps caves into pressure over two-year tenancies

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Shapps caves into pressure over two-year tenancies

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Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Local Government

Shapps caves into pressure over two-year tenancies Shapps caves into pressure over two-year tenancies

Housing minister Grant Shapps has been forced to amend his social housing tenure plans by adding a requirement in the regulator's Tenure Standard that "five years" should be the minimum fixed term and that two years should only be used in "exceptional circumstances".

In the consultation document Implementing social housing reform: directions to the Social Housing Regulator  the Government said a minimum tenancy term of two years should be available to registered providers, but it "expected the vast majority of tenancies to be provided on longer terms".

Now, after pressure from the House of Lords, Shapps has reissued the draft tenure direction which now states that tenures of two years should only be used "exceptionally" and that this will become a requirement within the Tenure Standard.

The new direction states that where "registered providers grant general needs tenancies these are for a minimum fixed term of five years, or exceptionally for a minimum term of no less than two years, in addition to any probationary tenancy period."

A letter has been sent to all the parties who participated in the consultation.

It adds that if social landlords decide there are 'exceptional circumstances' where tenancies of less than five years may be appropriate, then they will be required to set out in their tenancy policy what those circumstances will be.

It adds that when respondents reply to the consultation they should do so on the basis that the draft direction represents the Government's proposed text. The deadline is 29 September.

A spokesperson from the department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) said the decision was not a U-turn.

The spokesperson said: "Landlords have made it clear to Ministers from the start of the year that tenancies shorter than two years would only be used in exceptional circumstances. We have always said that in the vast majority of cases in which a social landlord offers a flexible tenancy, we would expect the tenancy would be for at least five years.

"Government plans to introduce greater flexibility on social housing tenancies remain in place, with landlords able to set contracts from a minimum two-year tenancy up to lifetime tenure, and we are now making sure that the standards landlords need to meet fully reflect that position."

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