Over the last 20 years, home ownership figures have dropped considerably for people aged between 25 and 34 years. It is particularly hard for middle earners to get a foothold on the property ladder. Many people are therefore heavily reliant on the private UK rental market, but how does our renting compare to the experience of tenants in other European countries?

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Germany is often seen a tenant’s paradise, with great protection and freedom for those who rent. Eviction can only occur if the law is broken with anti-social behaviour or significant rent arrears accrue. A landlord can decide to sell, but in many cases the tenants remain, and it’s even been known that children inherit tenancies from their parents. Other countries that afford their tenants between 3 to 10 years protection are Ireland, Italy and Belgium. For a Gloucester Letting Agency and details on available properties, visit http://www.alexclarkglos.co.uk/

In England and Wales, the highest proportion of tenancies are ‘assured shorthold tenancies’ where protection from eviction tends to last for six months. You can still face eviction for unpaid rent and anti-social behaviour during this period, but after six months a landlord can evict or not renew a contract without having to give a reason. For older tenancy agreements that date before 1989, the Rent Act 1977 provides greater security of tenure.

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How much rent can be increased varies widely between countries. In Germany, for example, rent cannot increase further than local market conditions and no more than 15-20% in a three-year period depending on your location within the country. Some nations have capped increases, offering excellent tenant protection. These include France, the Netherlands, Ireland, Norway, Italy, Poland and Belgium.

Landlords cannot raise rents for the duration of a tenancy agreement in England and Wales. However, as such agreements tend to be for six months in the majority of cases, this only protects a tenant from an increase for a short period of time. Some eastern European countries have almost no tenant protection at all. There are no minimum time periods where a tenant cannot be evicted with no grounds and absolutely no rules to limit any rent increases. Romania has no regulations regarding written contracts at all! This might explain why home ownership is very high in Romania – at a whopping 98%

Germany might have excellent freedoms and protection for tenants, but with it comes greater responsibility for the property itself. Similarly to England and Wales, by law it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure properties are in a suitable condition, however it is also expected that the tenant accepts the cost of any maintenance needs or cosmetic improvements.