The government is planning to limit a council tenants’ right to secure tenancy to a maximum of five years.
The move is intended to help reduce the backlog of new tenants waiting for social housing, and to encourage long-term council tenants to move into home-ownership, if they haven’t already been tempted by successive governments.
Labour has condemned the move, saying that it will lead to the breakup of families and communities, when the security of a stable shelter is uncertain.
The BBC reports:
Up to now, most council tenants have been allowed to remain in their homes for as long as they wanted.
In some cases, tenants can even pass their properties to a next of kin.
“People will be astonished that ministers are legislating to deny families a stable home,” said John Healey, Labour’s housing spokesman.
“This will cause worry and upheaval for tenants, and break up communities.”
If the amendment is passed into law, councils will have to provide fixed-term tenancies of between two and five years.
At the end of the term, local authorities could extend the lease or ask a tenant to move.
The new move has been criticized by Labour’s shadow cabinet minister for housing, says The Guardian:
The new legislation forces councils to offer all new tenants contracts of between two and five years. At the end of the fixed term, local authorities will have to carry out a review of the tenant’s circumstance, and decide whether to grant a new tenancy, move the tenant into another more appropriate social rented property, or terminate the tenancy.
Where the local authority decides to terminate the tenancy, they will be required to provide advice to support the tenant into home ownership or to help them access other housing options, whichever is appropriate.
The new move has already been criticised by John Healey, Labour’s shadow cabinet minister for housing,who said people would be “astonished that ministers are legislating to deny families a stable home”.
“Councils are already able to decide on the length of tenancy they want to offer according to local needs,” he said. “Margaret Thatcher passed the law to give council tenants secure tenancies which David Cameron is now tearing up. This generation of Tory ministers seem to have a vendetta against council tenants and council homes.”
A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said the changes would “improve local authorities abilities to provide social housing for those who need it most, as long as they need it”.
“This is about ensuring we make the best use of our social housing, and that tenancies change as needs change,” he said.
“We want to support households to make the transition into home ownership where they can.”