One in eight parents in the east and south east of England blame frequent and stressful house moved caused by short rental tenancies for unsettling their children, figures show.

The number of renting families in the region has more than doubled in the past decade, according to a YouGov poll carried out last autumn.

But the housing charity Shelter, which published the research today, said the law has failed to keep pace with the social change.

Renters only have a secure home for six months after which their landlord can ask them to leave with just two months’ notice and without a reason, a Shelter spokesman pointed out. This will often be through no fault of their own, like if the rent is hiked up to an unaffordable amount, or if the landlord wants to sell.

Your Local Guardian:
Pic credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Nearly half of the 3,261 adults surveyed by YouGov between August 23 and September 6 worried they would have to change schools as a result of a future move.

Forty per cent said searching for a new rented home negatively affected their personal life and one in ten said short-term rentals Graeme Brown, Shelter’s interim chief executive, urged the government to introduce five year tenancies to combat instability.

From February: 'No need to use greenbelt to solve housing crisis', Housing Minister Gavin Barwell claims

Mr Brown said: “Soaring house prices mean more families are renting than ever before. But the dire state of our rental market means they can only secure a home for six months – the equivalent to just two school terms.

“Every day at Shelter we speak to parents who are forced to move, faced with yet another unsettling house move. And at the sharp end, a worrying number of renting families are becoming homeless because they can’t scrape together the money needed for a deposit on a new place. No child deserves this upheaval.

“We welcome the government’s shift towards helping struggling renting families but their plans will still leave the majority without the secure home they want and need. Now is the time to fix this by introducing five-year tenancies across the board, allowing families to plan and save for the future and to feel secure and settled in their homes.”

Got a story? Get in touch at