A new report has found that in the last two years within the private rented sector, the average length of tenancy has increased by 300%, from 16 months in 2014 to four years in 2016.
The Residential Landlords Association are currently trying to persuade the Government to remove barriers to longer term tenancies, for example restrictions imposed on landlords by lenders and freeholders of leases. If they succeed in doing this the average length of tenancy could rise even further, as Government data shows that for private sector tenants the length of tenancy is at a new five-year high.
Although this is good news for landlords, the rise in tenancy length has highlighted the importance of having a good quality inventory at the beginning of the tenancy, with the need to differentiate between fair ‘wear and tear’ and ‘damage’ being paramount. According to the latest Access Legal Survey, it is estimated that landlords lose over £4.5bn every year due to damage inflicted on their property.
“Property damage and ‘wear and tear’ are big issues in the property over a longer tenancy period,” said the founder and CEO of Imfuna, Jax Kneppers. “The longer a tenant stays in a property, the more likely it is that the property will be subject to wear and tear. When this occurs, a landlord may decide to hold onto the deposit in order to cover the cost of repairs, redecoration and cleaning bills at the end of a long-term tenancy.”
He also remarked: “Damage and fair wear and tear needs to be independently and expertly assessed in order to provide solid grounds for any charges raised against the tenant. Clearly landlords and tenants have different expectations when it comes to fair wear and tear issues. However, if landlords wish to avoid the hassle of arguments over who is responsible for damage, they need to prepare a thorough inventory of the condition of the property that details the condition of everything in it.”