Orbit to introduce lifetime ‘secure’ tenancy agreements
Orbit has announced its intention to move away from fixed-term tenancy agreements in favour of assured tenancy, also known as lifetime tenancy, by 1 April 2020.
Since 2012, Orbit has offered all general needs customers fixed-term tenancy agreements for a period of five years. In the fifth year, customers undergo a formal review to assess whether to extend or end the tenancy agreement.
To encourage sustainable, thriving communities and reduce short term rentals, Orbit has decided to end the use of fixed-term tenancy.
Around 11,000 Orbit customers currently on fixed-term agreements will benefit from the move to lifetime tenancies.
Introduced in 2011, as part of the Localism Act, fixed-term tenancy was billed as an alternative to assured tenancy, and gave landlords more flexibility to manage their properties.
However, the contractual approach has provided little benefit and proved to be unsettling for customers, with the uncertainty around tenancy renewal.
Paul Richards, Group Customer Services Director at Orbit, said: “The move to lifetime tenancy agreements not only aligns with our mission of creating sustainable communities, but also supports the government’s Green Paper on social housing.
“We want our customers to be secure in the knowledge that they will have a home for as long as they wish. This was not always guaranteed with fixed-term tenancy; therefore putting an end to the usage of this type of agreement across our property portfolio is a welcome change.
“Before we finally implement, we’ll look to agree the new approach with the people who matter the most – our customers.”
As part of the transition, Orbit customers will be subject to a one-year probationary period to ensure they can manage the property responsibly, for example, pay their rent, take care of the property and be good neighbours. Thereafter, the tenancy will be converted to an assured tenancy agreement.
Orbit will implement the new tenancy approach next year following a consultation with its customers.