THE government has announced that it is scrapping no-fault evictions of tenants – just 10 days after Swindon Conservatives voted against the idea.

The current law allows landlords to give just two months’ notice to quit for no reason, after a contracted tenancy has ended, and has been said by campaigners to contribute to homelessness and family instability.

At a meeting a bid by Labour councillor Emma Bushell to end the practice passed by the casting vote of temporary chairman Coun Steve Allsopp, when 15 councillors, including the mayor and deputy mayor had to leave the chamber because they themselves are private landlords.

At the time, Tories described the idea as 'dangerous'.

Coun Bushell, who is the Labour group’s spokesman on housing said: “I welcome the government’s decision to back the campaign to end no-fault evictions.

"I am delighted that the motion perhaps played a small part in this decision. We built on the good work of Generation Rent and charities like Shelter who have been championing this for a long time.

“The justification for a change from no-fault evictions is clear. They are a cause of increasing homelessness and tenant insecurity. Though it doesn’t completely solve rental market problems, this change will give tenants more security.

“At the time I proposed this change, Swindon’s Conservative councillors described the move as dangerous.

"I understand they think it’s important to protect the rights of landlords, but it will be interesting to hear whether they stick by this now that their own government supports our proposal.”

When Coun Bushell’s motion was put at council Conservatives were unanimous in opposing it, saying it would deter people from renting out their properties.

Council leader Coun David Renard said: “Conservatives have always believed it is right to strike a fair balance between the rights of tenants and the rights of landlords. We fundamentally recognise the importance of the private rented sector in helping people have the homes they need and deserve. Our main concern was that a well-intentioned policy could end up having unintended consequences if it increases bureaucracy and costs for landlords and tenants alike.

“Whilst the headlines of the government announcement are welcomed, the fundamental issues from the recent council debate remain unanswered. The devil is in the detail, and the consultation that Labour councillors are cheering proposes that when a tenancy agreement ends, the landlord would need to apply to the courts to sell their property. Tenants will be evicted for due cause, instead of no fault, which in itself could create more problems than it solves.

“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 because of a lack of confidence in the buy to let market. We believe tenants and landlords should be using the three-year model agreements that solves many of the issues and concerns, including clearly setting out each side’s responsibilities.”