New data about longer tenancies proves that landlords are already meeting government calls for greater security for tenants without the need for heavy handed new laws, says the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

Figures from the English Housing Survey (EHS) for 2015/16, published on Thursday, show the average length that tenants have been in their current private rented property is now 4.3 years.

And nearly two thirds of private sector tenants have been living in their current home for more than three years, whilst almost half have been in them for five or more years.

RLA chair Alan Ward said: “Today’s figures show what we have always known – landlords want to provide tenants with long term housing.

“It is good for both tenants who want security and landlords who have stable tenancies.

“It is time to end the scaremongering peddled by some and focus not on heavy handed legislation, but looking at what more can be done to break the barriers preventing landlords offering longer tenancies, such as restrictions imposed by mortgage lenders.

“Landlords are stepping up to the plate and providing the stability that many tenants need and want.”

The survey also found that the proportion of private rented households with children has increased from 30 per cent in 2005/06 to 36 per cent in 2015/16 – the rise equates to about 945,000 more households.

It revealed that the majority (74 per cent) of private renters were working, with 62 per cent in full-time work and 12 per cent in part-time work.

Smaller proportions of private renters were retired (8 per cent), in full-time education (5 per cent), or unemployed (4 per cent) than in social housing.

The EHS is a national survey of people's housing circumstances and the condition and energy efficiency of housing in England which was first run in 2008-09.