A few weeks ago I received an email from a local Councillor who asked: “Are Camberwell Landlords Meeting the Challenges of tenanted families bringing up their families in Camberwell?.” What an interesting question to be asked.

Here are my thoughts, regardless of whether you are a tenant or homeowner when bringing up a family the two most important factors are security and stability in the home. A trend of that security and stability in a rented property is whether the tenants are constantly being evicted.  It’s often muted that tenancies last just six months and that families are at risk of being served two months’ notice to leave the property for no reason.

Some “left leaning Politian’s” keep saying we need to change the private rental market by implementing longer tenancies of 3 or 5 years instead of the current six months due to the insecurity of the private rental market. However, the figures seem to be telling a different story. The average length of residence in private rental homes has risen in the last five years from 3.7 years to 4 years (a growth of 8.1%), which in turn has directly affected the number of renters with families.  You can see this in the following figures which show the percentage of private rented property with dependent children in them has risen from 29.1% to 37.4% since 2003.

If we now look at the SE5 area when compared with the National figures, of the 4,324 private rental homes in Camberwell, 942 of these have dependent children in them (or 21.8%), which is below the National average of 37.4%.  The lower value is something we might expect from an inner city location in a big city like London.

Here are the other tenure types in SE5 Camberwell:

(The average duration of a tenancy for the private rented sector is four years)

  • 37.7% of Social (Council) Housing in Camberwell have dependent children with the average length of a tenancy being 11.4 years.
  • 28.8% of Camberwell Owner Occupiers (with a Mortgage) have dependent children, and the average duration of occupation is 10.4 years.
  • 14.3% of Owner Occupiers (without a Mortgage) have dependent children and the average length of occupation being 24.1 years.

This proves landlords do not spend their time seeking opportunities to evict a tenant as the average length of tenancy has steadily increased. This remarkable 8.1% increase in the average length of time residents stay in a private rented property over the last five years; shows tenants are happy to stay longer and start families on the type of tenancies that are already available to them.

As it seems Landlords are meeting tenants requirements in terms of a long-lasting tenancy, it is unreasonable some politicians are insisting for fixed terms of 3 and 5-year leases. This type of overzealous regulation could cause landlords to consider whether it’s worth renting their property in the first place.  As a result, there would be a  reduction in the supply of the much needed rental property, meaning in the long term tenants would suffer as their rent will increase due to this lack of supply.  Many tenants want more flexible tenancies, and they may have to move due to a change of job.  Currently, many tenants only have to give one month notice, but with the new proposals, this could be three or six months.

Is there is a piece of good news for Camberwell residents? The English Housing Survey has shown that those living in private rented housing for extended periods of time paid less rent than those who continually moved around.