According to the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC), landlords and property managers must now prepare for long-term tenancies as data shows the average private tenancy length is now four years â€“ up from three and a half years in the previous survey.
The organisation says heightened preparation must include thorough administration and more thought about the choice of furniture and interior design themes.
It also found that some 46% of 25-34 year-olds lived in the Private Rented Sector in 2014-15, up from 24% in 2004-05.
Patricia Barber, Chair of the AIIC, said: “Despite numerous reports suggesting that the average tenant doesn't want a long-term contract, the official statistics show that average tenancy lengths are increasing – particularly among families – as people rent for longer.”
The organisation says that these figures should encourage landlords to think harder about what will make their rental property feel more like a home and what can be done to facilitate renters staying in their property for longer.
Barber also states that the phenomenon of long-term renting highlights how important it is for landlords to be organised and make sure they're on top of their administration duties.
She said: “When tenants stick around for longer, often the chances of confusion and disagreement over certain issues are increased when the tenancy does eventually come to an end. The longer time goes on, the more likely landlords and tenants are to forget details from the tenancy agreement or important information about the deposit, and that's why stringent administration – keeping copies of everything and organising it accordingly – is so important.”
The AIIC reminds landlords that this need for evidence and records – especially for long-term tenancies – demonstrates the value of a thorough and professionally-prepared inventory carried out at the start of the rental.
Barber continues: “There are more grey areas over the condition of a property the longer a tenancy goes on. A detailed inventory will help landlords and tenants to determine exactly how the property's condition has changed over the course of the tenancy, what can be deemed fair wear and tear and what needs to be replaced and therefore deducted from the tenant's deposit.”
Should a dispute arise at the end of a tenancy, the AIIC maintains that a detailed inventory, which has been signed and agreed by the tenant, is the most important piece of evidence available to a landlord or letting agent.
This year the AIIC is celebrating its 20th anniversary – which will be marked at the organisation's annual awards dinner, where the winner of Inventory Clerk of the Year will be announced.