The Residential Landlords Association has urged the government not to rush into making 3-year tenancies mandatory for private landlords.
Communities secretary James Brokenshire reportedly backed calls to make them mandatory across England and Wales, with a consultation on longer tenancies closing on 26 August.
But the RLA said: “It would be highly irregular for the government to make an announcement on longer tenancies next week before the consultation has even closed and it has had chance to properly consider all responses.
“As well as showing disregard for recognised procedure, it would suggest that the government does not want to listen to those who will be directly affected by any change.”
“The government should work with landlords to introduce change that improves the rental process for both landlords and tenants, otherwise there is a danger that even more landlords will leave the sector which is already shrinking.”
The RLA said it supports longer tenancies in the sector but is against imposing them as the norm.
The majority of landlords (57%) believe the use of financial incentives such as tax relief would be the best way to ensure they offer longer-term tenancies to those that want them.
Later letting agents expressed concerns about the government introducing mandatory 3-year tenancy agreements next week.
Alexandra Morris, managing director if online letting agent MakeUrMove, said: “We need to ensure that by trying to improve tenants options and security, we are putting in place well-considered solutions, rather than a knee-jerk reaction that will ultimately be damaging and restrictive for both landlords and tenants.
“I would urge the government not to jump the gun and to wait until the consultation is completed and ensure that voices from across the sector are considered before making a decision on changes to tenancy lengths.”
And Adam Male, director of lettings at Urban.co.uk, said: “The introduction of 3-year tenancies would be an extremely clumsy and ill-advised move by the government and one that will further suppress the buy-to-let market.
“This is nothing more than an attempt to appear pro-tenant in order to grab votes and the reality is that the government has little interest in the nation’s tenants and the end result will not favour them.”
Both letting agents claimed a number of tenants and landlords alike are happy with shorter tenancies for the flexibility they offer both parties.