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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

Tenure reform - England

Last updated Date:17/04/2013

Tenure reform - England

Latest news

The government has now introduced new flexibilities for housing providers to offer new tenants a tenancy for a fixed term, where they choose to do so. Where providers use these new flexibilities, they are  required to offer tenancies for a fixed term of at least 5 years, except for in 'exceptional circumstances' where they may offer a tenancy of between 2 and 5 years. Providers must publish a tenancy policy setting out whether and how they intend to use the new flexibilities.

These reforms have been implemented through the Localism Act and through changes to the regulatory standards framework. For most providers, they took effect from April 2012.

Our view

CIH supports in principle a more flexible approach to tenure, however, we are keen that this is used to offer tenants positive and supported choices to improve their housing options and to support the development of sustainable communities, rather than to enforce particular behaviours or eligibility. We are keen to see the development of an ‘active housing-options approach’ where reviews are regularly offered to all tenants to help them plan for the future and identify support needs.

We are clear that social housing should not be exclusively used as part of the welfare system and we are very resistant to any proposals which could see tenancies ended after a fixed term on the basis of an income-based means test. We are concerned that this would lead to social housing becoming more residualised, and further stigmatise those living in the sector.

Furthermore, the decision to introduce fixed term tenancies does not address the underlying structural problem of the shortage of housing options offered at a price that households can afford.

CIH will provide support and guidance to the sector to help housing providers to implement the changes in the areas in which they work effectively.

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