Housing fighters have hailed a groundbreaking shift in tenant rights after the government announced plans to "abolish unreliable evictions", which were described as the biggest overhaul of tenants of a generation.
The government will seek advice on the elimination of section 21 expulsion in England, which means that private landlords can no longer evict tenants from their homes in the short term without good reason.
Currently, landlords have the right to relieve tenants with a notice period of eight weeks after termination of a fixed-term contract. The government said that section 21, which is known to be in doubt, has become one of the main causes of homelessness in the family.
After announcing the plans, Theresa May said that tenants had the right to feel safe in their homes, to settle in their community and to be able to plan with confidence for the future. "Millions of responsible tenants could still be uprooted by their landlord with little attention and often little justification," she said.
"That's wrong – and today we act by preventing these unfair expulsions. This important step not only protects tenants from unethical behavior but also gives them the long-term security and peace of mind they deserve. "
The changes, which Shelter described as "an outstanding win" for tenants, will indeed lead to permanent tenancies, reassuring tenants that they will not face eviction when complaining about the poor quality of their accommodations.
According to the proposals, landlords seeking to evict tenants would need to follow the procedure in Section 8, which can be implemented if a tenant is in arrears, has become involved in criminal or anti-social behavior or has violated the rental agreement, such as: Damage to the property.
Ministers have stated that they will change Section 8's procedure so that landlords can use them to sell or withdraw the property. Unlike Section 21, tenants can challenge the eight evictions in court.
The proposed change angered landlord representatives who said that the no-fault eviction rules had been used to circumvent protracted legal delays when landlords had to force tenants to defer tenants. Leased lenders are also likely to closely monitor the proposed change and may lend less if landlords have difficulty distributing recalcitrant tenants.
David Smith, political director of the Residential Landlords Association, said changes would lead to cautious investment in property for sale by lessees and potential lenders. "With all the security of more security for the tenants, that will not be a problem if the rental apartments are not there at all," he said.
More than 4 million households, equivalent to about 11 million people, are currently in privately rented accommodation in England, but James Brokenshire, the secretary of the community, said the real estate market has not kept pace with the explosion in the rental market.
Brokenshire said it was "the biggest change in a generation's private rental sector" and families have the right to build a house without fear of being evicted immediately.
Polly Neate, Shelter's Chief Executive, said the government would earn a high reputation if it lived up to its promise and if the change would change its life. She said that tenants often had contracts "that are shorter than the average membership in a gym that is in constant fear of being thrown off the hook."
The charity said she has found that one in five of families who rented privately have moved at least three times in the last five years, and one in ten indicates that a private landlord or leasing agent has thrown his belongings and changed locks.
Citizens Advice boss Gillian Guy said the change was a "groundbreaking upheaval" and would prevent landlords from "evicting tenants for mere complaint".
The recent Citizens Advice investigation found that tenants who made a formal complaint against their landlord or the condition of their rental property had a 46% chance that an eviction notice was issued under Section 21 in the following six months.
Heather Kennedy, a housing economist at the New Economics Foundation, said she experienced two involuntary evictions, including last winter, just days after she found out she was pregnant.
"I know how brutal and terrible evictions are without fault," she said. "It is impossible to build a stable, rooted life as a private tenant under the laws of Section 21. The government's plans to lift this horrific legislation are a massive victory for the growing tenant movement that has been fighting for it together."
The announcement was cautiously greeted by Labor, but the Shadow Housing Commissioner, John Healey, said the government must also protect landlords who hustle tenants out of the house by stealth.
"Any promise of new help for tenants is good news, but this latest promise will not work if landlords can still force tenants to increase the rent," he said. "Tenants need new rights and protections across the board to stop costly rent increases and inferior housing and stop unfair evictions," Healey said.
The amendment was the subject of a Generation Rent campaign backed by Labor and the Green Party, a 50,000 petition and 13 local authorities supporting the abolishment of section 21, including the London boroughs of Lewisham, Southwark and Hackney
Tenant campaign groups also welcomed the proposal as a victory, but added that it should be part of a reform package. Acorn, another tenant union, said the change should not be seen as a "gift from a benevolent government," but as the result of a long-running campaign by organized tenants.
The government has also announced that it will also change rights for landlords who want to sell tenants to sell or own their property, and has also promised to speed up the legal procedures for evictions if tenants fall behind or damage the property.
Richard Lambert, the chief executive of the National Landlords Association, said there was often "no choice" but to use Section 21. "They have no confidence in the ability or ability of courts to handle property claims quickly and safely from the strength of the landlord's fall," he said.