Theresa May has announced plans to abolish Section 21 evictions, where landlords are able to uproot tenants at the end of their contracts without good reason - and with as little as eight weeks' notice.
As part of a major shake-up for the UK's rental sector, private landlords will no longer be allowed to evict 'no-fault' tenants when their contract ends without considerable notice.
The Prime Minister says the move will give renters 'long-term certainty'.
To evict renters as a tenancy ends, landlords will instead have to provide a firm reason specified in law, and also provide evidence.
Theresa May. Credit: PA
May said: "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."
May's announcement has been met with praise by homelessness charity Shelter, which has deemed it a 'victory' for the millions of private renters in England.
Polly Neate, Chief Executive of 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.
A sign outside a rental property. Credit: PA
"One in four families now privately rent their home, as do hundreds of thousands of older people. And yet, we frequently hear from people with contracts shorter than your average gym membership, who live in constant fear of being thrown out at the drop of a hat.
"Ending Section 21 evictions will transform these renters' lives - giving them room to breathe and put down roots in a place they can finally call home.
"Getting this new legislation through parliament is critical to people being able to stay in their rented home as long as they need, so we look forward to the government passing this law as quickly as possible."
While the news has been welcomed by many, others have also highlighted potential flaws in the changes.
Labour's shadow housing secretary John Healey said the announcement was 'good news', but argued tenants still face being kicked out by rising rent prices.
He 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."
Rental properties in north London. Credit: PA
Landlords have also warned that the plan could discourage people to invest in new homes.
David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, said: "Whilst the RLA recognises the pressure being placed on government for change, there are serious dangers of getting such reforms wrong.
"With the demand for private rented homes continuing to increase, we need the majority of good landlords to have confidence to invest in new homes.
"This means ensuring they can swiftly repossess properties for legitimate reasons such as rent arrears, tenant anti-social behaviour or wanting to sell them. This needs to happen before any moves are made to end Section 21.
"For all the talk of greater security for tenants, that will be nothing if the homes to rent are not there in the first place. We call on the government to act with caution."
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