Think tank calls for three year tenancies as the norm

A conservative think tank has called for renters to be able to let a property for three years as the norm.

The Bright Blue Group, in partnership with homelessness charity Shelter, published ‘Home advantage: a new centre-right vision for housing’, which includes thought pieces from Conservative MPs including Michael Gove, as well as academics and charity bosses.

James Cowling, founder of campaign group Next Generation Tories, said: “Extending the standard length of a contract for up to three years would help prevent people from being forced to regularly move and protect against rents being frequently jacked up.

“Government must also look more closely at measures to protect renters against the failure of local councils, particularly in inner London.”

The Bright Blue Group calls itself an “independent think tank for liberal conservatism”.

Other recommendations from the contributors include building 90,000 social homes a year, introducing a short lets register, extending the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector, and cutting stamp duty to encourage down-sizing.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove wrote a forward, saying: “Every single person in this country, no matter where they are from, what they do or how much money they earn, deserves to live in a home that is decent, safe, secure and affordable. Along with the campaigners and political colleagues who have contributed to this thoughtful collection of essays, I am more committed than ever to building a modern, radical and successful conservative housing policy that works for everyone, whether they rent or own.”

Ryan Shorthouse, the chief executive of Bright Blue, said: “A Conservative government, now in power for 13 years, needs to make genuinely affordable and appropriate housing – of all different types of tenure – accessible to a much wider proportion of the population, especially younger generations and those on modest incomes.

“There is no silver bullet to fix the housing crisis. But, without bold and urgent steps, the housing situation in this country is only set to get worse, to the detriment of the national interest and the very survival of the centre-right. We need new, radical solutions now.”

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “The housing emergency is robbing hundreds of thousands of people of a safe and secure home, and undermining the future of local communities from Cornwall to Northumberland. Private rents are skyrocketing, over a million households are stuck on social housing waiting lists and homelessness has almost doubled in the last 10 years, but time and time again housing gets left off the political agenda.

“The government needs to start listening to the growing range of voices calling for bold action on housing, an issue that will be critical at the next General Election. Access to a decent home is as vital as education or healthcare. The only way to make sure everyone has a home they can afford to live in, and one that allows them to thrive, is for the government to prioritise housing and build a new generation of good quality social homes with rents tied to local incomes.”