One in ten parents in the Midlands say short-term rentals, which result in frequent and stressful house moves, have stopped their children feeling settled. The new research published today by Shelter reveals the worrying impact the country’s broken rental market is having on families. In the past decade, the number of renting families has more than doubled but the law has failed to keep up. 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. 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.

Unsurprisingly, this instability means parents are concerned about the impact of constantly moving house on their children, with over a third (36%) worrying they will have to change schools as a result of a future move. Though parents try to prevent this happening, sometimes the distance is too far to commute.

Finding a new place to rent can be time consuming, stressful and expensive. It is as much an emotional upheaval as a physical one. In fact, 42% of parents surveyed said searching for a new rented home had a negative impact on their personal life and nearly 1 in 10 (9%) said a short-term rental negatively affected relationships with friends or family members.

The loss of private rented homes remains the single biggest cause of homelessness in England, a symptom of an unstable and expensive rental market. That is why Shelter is calling on the government to introduce five year tenancies to give renting families more stability.

Graeme Brown, Shelter’s interim chief executive, 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.”

Case study: Emma and her husband live in Folkestone with their three young children. They’ve moved