More and more young families are opting to live in rented accommodation over buying a home. It is difficult to get on the property ladder and when you have children they are your highest priority so saving up for a deposit for a house quickly may not be an option. A recent survey by Shelter has found that 64% of families who are renting would like to own a home but do not believe they can afford it, and almost half think they will be living in rented for at least the next decade. Renting is therefore a long term option for a lot of UK households, but there is one major issue which keeps coming up – children. A lot of families who are renting feel that there is not enough stability for their children whilst living in rented accommodation. Many feel this instability is having a detrimental effect on their children’s childhoods. Also, 10 per cent of families have had to move their children’s school due to a house move.
Unpredictable rent and short term tenancies are making family life much more difficult, and causing children to have to live with regular moves and upheaval. This is not thought to be beneficial to children. Something should be done about bringing current contracts in the rental sector in line with what families need and want. Renting is not a lifestyle choice for many tenants, but a necessity. Only a very small number of the families which were questioned found the flexibility of rented accommodation to be an attractive factor.
Therefore, it is welcome news that the National Landlord’s Association and Shelter are pushing for more stability for families living in rented accommodation. Shelter is specifically pushing for the introduction of a new form of rental contract for families living in rented accommodation. The “Stable Rental Contract” would give renters a long term let of 5 years, and within this time their rent would be guaranteed to only rise in line with inflation. Furthermore, the contract they are proposing would also allow families to decorate their homes to make them more personalised. This type of contract would reduce the stress of regular house moves for parents and their children. It would also reduce the stress of constant house hunting and rent concerns for parents. This contract would not only be beneficial to tenants, but to landlords too as it will guarantee them a long term, steady income from a property.