Three-year tenancies

Since the Housing Act 1988, residential assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) with no security of tenure have become the norm. Despite the societal problems created by short tenures (exacerbated by a larger pool of private renters: (1988: 8% vs 2018: 17%)), ASTs sit at odds with longer term commercial tenancies which do typically benefit from security. Now, as commercial lease lengths seem to be in decline, there is a government proposal to increase the minimum term of ASTs to 36 months, albeit with an initial 6-monthly mutual break and a subsequent 2-month rolling break for tenants. The consultation document language suggests that any rent uplift needs to be ‘at a level that is agreed at the outset of the tenancy’. So no market review? Practically, this might create little difference to the current model, as tenants typically occupy for 4 years in any event and leave if the rent increases too much. However, it is difficult to see: (a) why the landlord would not activate the 6-month break and renegotiate if the market rent was higher (or prospectively higher) than the fixed rent or (b) why the tenant would not treat their 2-month rolling break as an option over the space? Capped rent models have been proven not to work – the market votes by reducing supply. This proposed tinkering might be well intended, but surely seems destined to end in a fudge?