THE city council plans to continue offering lifetime tenancies to people living in nearly 8,000 of its homes – until Government policy will mean that needs to change.

It said it wants to promote ‘genuinely affordable rents’ but a change in legislation will mean some tenancies will need to be provided on a flexible and fixed term basis instead.

The council knows it will need to provide fixed term contracts in some of its 7,800 homes soon but not exactly when or how many will need to be allocated as part of that change yet.

So amidst the uncertainty it has developed a draft strategy which continues its current policy to just offer fixed term tenancies.

If the Government changes its guidance over mandatory flexible fixed term tenancies then the council will revise its current draft strategy to reflect new guidance as and when it is made.

The nationwide change seeks to ensure that there is sufficient housing stock which can be exchanged easily when it is not required. For example, a couple whose children have moved out might not require the same home they once had.

About 37 per cent of all local authorities offer just fixed term tenancies.

The council's strategy on tenancies will go out to consultation later this month and finish in April.

Councillor Mike Rowley, the city council’s board member for housing, said: “Our ambition is to make Oxford a city where people have access to affordable and high quality homes that enable them to build settled, safe and healthy lives, within sustainable and thriving communities.

He added: “Our new tenancy strategy will help us achieve this, and we will shortly be consulting with private registered providers of social housing in Oxford, council tenants, stakeholders and members of the public.

“Consultation responses will be used to inform any changes to the strategy before the documents can be formally adopted.”

The city council is required to have a tenancy strategy to set out how social housing is let out and how long tenancies are granted for.

All social housing providers, including housing associations, must adhere to it and the details include the kind of tenancies they grant. It also includes the circumstances in which people can be given a tenancy.

Along with that, the strategy will also include how tenants might be granted longer tenancies in the event of theirs coming to an end.

The council will hold a consultation on its new draft tenancy policy which expires this year from March 21 until April 19.