5 November 2012

Tom Lloyd, Inside Housing

A Labour-controlled council in London has voted to retain lifetime tenancies despite being given the freedom to limit terms to as little as two years.

Camden councillors decided to not to introduce fixed-term tenancies and to keep existing succession rights at a meeting last month. Under powers in the Localism Act 2011 councils have been given more flexibility in how they set their allocation policies to cater for local need.

Government guidance suggested fixed-term tenancies should be for five years, with two-year tenancies allowed in some circumstances. However Camden’s analysis found the benefits of introducing fixed-term tenancies could be outweighed by the downsides.

The cabinet report acknowledges that under-occupation is a ‘serious issue’ but says it is ‘questionable whether fixed term tenancies represent the most effective means of freeing up larger homes’. It says the cost of administering fixed-term tenancies and dealing with increased voids could cancel out any gains.

The policy will be kept under review and could be re-examined in 2016/17 when a new housing strategy is due to be developed.