“Family-friendly” tenancies in the private rented sector

Publication Date03 Oct 2019
AuthorEmily Walsh
SubjectProperty management & built environment,Building & construction,Building & construction law,Real estate & property,Property law
Family-friendlytenancies in
the private rented sector
Emily Walsh
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying,
Portsmouth University, Portsmouth, UK
Purpose This paper aims to analysethe extent to which the governments recent proposals to end no-fault
evictionswill result in family-friendlytenancies.
Design/methodology/approach It applies the theoretical scholarshipon the meaning of family and
home to the current law relating to private rented tenancies and the governments proposals to increase
securityof tenure in the private rented sector.
Findings Security of tenure is important to a number of the key aspects of home. However, feelings of
home are better protected bysecurity of occupancy, which requires more than de jure security of tenure.For
families to feel at home in the privaterented sector, they must be permitted to personalise their homeand to
keep pets. Further legislative changes could achieve these changes. However, for families to really make a
home in the private rentedsector, they need to exercise some choice over where theylive and for low-income
families;this will only be possible with broader policychanges.
Originality/value This paper contributes to the important scholarship on the meaning of home and
appliesthis to the very currentdebate on the rights of tenants in the private rented sector.
Keywords Security of tenure, Concept of home, Security of occupancy, Family-friendly, Eviction
Paper type Conceptual paper
Residential occupation in the UK can broadly be divided into three categories: owner
occupation, social renting and private renting. In the UK, as in Australia and the USA,
owner occupation has been promoted as the most desirable tenure type by the ease of
borrowing, favourable tax regimes andother government policies, such as the right to buy.
In addition to subsidisation, Ronald (2008) argues that the proliferation of home ownership
is caused by socio-ideological forces which are encapsulated in phrases such an
Englishmans home is his castle(2008, p. 6).Whilst owner occupation may be deemed the
most desirable tenure type, the percentage of families living in the private rented sector
(PRS) is increasing; in the ten years from 2006-2007 to 2016-2017,the percentage of families
in the sector rose from 34 to 38 per cent (Ministry of Housing,Communities and Local
Government, 2018a, 2018b). This increase has led to rhetoric concerning family-friendly
tenancies from housing charitiesand the government.
In the PRS, properties are owned by a private landlord who can be an individual or a
company. The tenantmay deal directly with the landlord or with a managementcompany or
letting agent engaged to manage the property.Properties within the sector are often let at a
market rent on an assured shorthold tenancy (AST). The sector can be contrasted with the
social rented sector whereproperties are owned by local authorities or housing associations.
Tenants in the PRS occupy this tenure type for a range of reasons and purposes. The
popularity of the sector has varied across recent history, with most people being private
rented tenants at the beginning of the twentieth century (Partington, 2006) to it being the
Received26 April 2019
Revised18 June 2019
5 July2019
Accepted9 July 2019
Journalof Property, Planning and
Vol.11 No. 3, 2019
pp. 230-243
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JPPEL-04-2019-0020
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