Tenants 'spending longer in homes'

tenantsPrivate tenants are typically renting their homes for the record duration of 19 months, lettings agents have said.

The average length of a tenancy has risen by 17% in two years, from 16 months and two weeks at the end of 2009 to around 19 months and a week by the end of 2011, the Association of Residential Letting Agents (Arla) said.
Would-be first-time buyers unable to raise a deposit or meet borrowing criteria have remained trapped in their current homes, meaning the rental sector boomed last year as the housing market remained flat.
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Arla said the increased tenancy lengths meant more wear and tear and therefore a greater danger of disputes arising. The body urged landlords and tenants to make sure inventories were thorough and said photographs taken at the start of a tenancy could also help to avoid disagreements.

Ian Potter, operations manager at Arla, said: "Possibly as a reaction to tough financial times, tenants seem to be spending longer in their rented properties and the average tenancy is in excess of 19 months.

"This increase in the length of tenancies will inevitably lead to greater wear and tear in rented accommodation and fewer opportunities for downtime between tenancies for landlords to make improvements."

Mr Potter said renters should ensure inventories listed not only the contents of a property but their condition and the condition of the property itself. Fixtures and fittings like carpets, curtains and light fittings should also be included, he said.

Arla's research was based on responses from 1,390 landlords across the UK and the figures go back to the beginning of 2005, when the average tenancy length was just under 15 months.

LSL Property Services, which owns chains Your Move and Reeds Rains, recently reported that average monthly rents dipped slightly to £711 in December 2011.

But the lettings network predicted rents would continue their "upward march" this year as people continued to struggle to get on the property ladder.
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