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Monday, 27 June 2016

'Licence Agreements' minimise renters' rights

The following comes from the tenants' newsletter of a so-called 'social landlord', known below as ****. It serves to illustrate how 'licences' that offer far fewer rights are replacing tenancies that offer renters more enforceable rights and greater security.

"Licence Agreements

"At the **** forum we've been discussing the kind of agreements we use when people come to live at ****. As of 1st June 2016, people moving in to our supported properties will be issued with Licence Agreements rather than tenancies.

"Why have **** brought in this change?

"When we offer supported housing it's on a short term basis and people are expected to move on within 2 years. Licenses help us move people in and out more quickly. It's particularly helpful when there are difficulties in the placement that can't be resolved.

"What's the difference?

"Licence agreements are easier to bring to an end. Both residents and PBHA have the same responsibilities as in tenancies to look after the property and act in a neighbourly way.

"What about current tenants?

"No current tenancies will be affected."

An unasked question in the above is, "What does 'supported housing' mean?" The emphasis on 'support' being limited to a 2 year stretch is perhaps reminiscent of chorus words from a Ewan MacColl song about public attitudes to gypsies or 'travelling people' in the 1950's. "You'd better get born in some place else. Go! Move! Shift!"(1)

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