Private landlords will be banned from evicting tenants at short notice and without good reason under plans unveiled on Monday.
In a major victory for campaigners, landlords will no longer be able to oust renters with as little as eight weeks’ notice after the fixed-term contract has come to an end.
It is aimed at effectively creating open-ended tenancies – offering hundreds of thousands of families in rented accommodation greater protections and certainty.
The measure comes amid a growing housing crisis, with families unable to afford to take their first step on the property ladder.
Statistics show the number of families with children privately renting has risen by 94% in a decade.
The move, the latest Government U-turn, is part of a consultation on axing Section 21 evictions – so called ‘no-fault’ evictions.
Housing Minister Heather Wheeler defended the loophole just five months ago.
She told MPs: “Section 21 provisions provide an important guarantee to landlords that they will always be able to get their property back at the end of the tenancy.
“The flexibility for landlords and mortgage providers to recover their asset if they need to is crucial to retaining investment and supply in the sector, including the availability of buy-to-let mortgages.”
But, revealing the proposed shake-up, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Sunday: “Everyone renting in the private sector has the right to feel secure in their home, settled in their community and able to plan for the future with confidence.
“But millions of responsible tenants could still be uprooted by their landlord with little notice, and often little justification.
“This is wrong – and today we’re acting by preventing these unfair evictions.
“Landlords will still be able to end tenancies where they have legitimate reasons to do so, but they will no longer be able to unexpectedly evict families with only eight weeks’ notice.
“This important step will not only protect tenants from unethical behaviour, but also give them the long-term certainty and the peace of mind they deserve.”
Polly Neate, chief executive of housing charity Shelter, said: “Government plans to abolish no-fault evictions represent an outstanding victory for England’s 11 million private renters.
“This change will slam the brakes on unstable short-term tenancies and give tenants everywhere a massive boost in security, for which the Government will deserve great credit.”
Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey said: “Any promise of new help for renters is good news but this latest pledge won’t work if landlords can still force tenants out by hiking the rent.
“For nine years, the Tories have failed to tackle problems facing private renters.
“Tenants need new rights and protections across the board to end costly rent increases and sub-standard homes as well as to stop unfair evictions.
“Labour is committed to giving renters the rights they deserve, including control on rents, indefinite tenancies and new legal minimum standards.”