Tenancy terms must evolve with the times

PAUL BROADHEAD, HEAD OF MORTGAGE POLICY, BUILDING SOCIETIES ASSOCIATION
PAUL BROADHEAD, HEAD OF MORTGAGE POLICY, BUILDING SOCIETIES ASSOCIATION

A report by the National Centre for Social Research, sponsored by Halifax, says that in the course of a generation we will become a nation of renters.

The reaction from the media was one of horror, but should we embrace the rented sector as a valid alternative to home ownership?

A housing market should provide choice in tenure at various life stages and comprise a mixture of high quality rental, properties of varied sizes and conditions of sale, and social housing.

The report showed young people see rented property as a valid form of tenure. This is good news as a socially mobile workforce is a key part of a vibrant economy. But the majority of those young people still aspired to own a home.

For some this may be unrealistic. It may be reflective of a private rented sector that lacks the security of tenure provided by home ownership.

Of course tenant rights must be balanced with responsibilities. But it seems unlikely we will become a nation of renters unless longer tenancy agreements are available in which perhaps the length of the notice period increases in line with the length of property occupation.

While home ownership remains the tenure of choice prospective borrowers should be realistic.

Rather than being obsessive about getting on to the housing ladder we must aspire to the right tenure at the right time and at the right price. After all, the key to long-term home ownership is sustainability.