Here is a question to the blog clinic from Mary (not her real name) who is a landlord.
I have tenants renting my house in east London from 2006 on short hold tenancy. We sign every year 12 months contracts until now. It’s now 12 years they are living in the same property. And still the tenants are happy to stay and we are happy for them to stay.and they paying full market price rent partly funded by the council, but we have direct contract with tenants.
My question to u is how long I can keep this tenants without worrying them to become sitting tenants, or me losing my house over them or any other issues I can have with them. Say if they have been in this house 20 years on short hold tenancy?
You do not need to worry. Your tenants will not gain any extra rights just by living in the property for a long time.
Many tenants who have been living in a property for a long time DO have extra rights – but this is because the law was different when they moved in. They have had those rights all along – they did not get them later.
I am talking here about tenants who moved in before 1 January 1989 and so gained rights under the Rent Act 1977 which regulated tenancies at that time. They will have protected tenancies with greater security of tenure and the right to ask for a ‘fair rent’.
Then many tenants who moved in between 15 January 1989 and 28 February 1997 gained rights because the landlord did not follow the procedure required at that time to create an assured shorthold tenancy. So they will have an assured tenancy where they have long-term security of tenure.
However, from 28 February 1997, assured shorthold tenancies have been the default tenancy type which, in most cases, is created automatically. This will continue however long the tenants stay in the property.
Even if the law does change to give tenants greater rights it is unlikely to affect existing tenancies. It will probably only apply to new ones.
So do not worry. It sounds as if you have great tenants and you should encourage them to stay as long as possible!