Nine million private tenants in the UK could be given extra protection from landlords who try to evict them. The government has decided to back a private member's bill, which would make it illegal to evict tenants who make justifiable complaints.
It would mean that people who complain about faulty boilers, leaky roofs or dangerous electrical items would no longer have to fear eviction. However it is uncertain whether it will become law before next year's election. Nevertheless the news was welcomed by campaign groups, including Shelter and Crisis.
According to Shelter, more than 200,000 people suffered from so-called "revenge" evictions last year.
“Nobody should have to raise their children in a place where their health and well-being are at risk, let alone live in fear of being thrown out simply for complaining about a problem ” said Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive.
The government said it would back the private member's bill from Sarah Teather, a Liberal Democrat MP, providing it only targets bad landlords - and does not stop legitimate evictions. The bill is due to get its second reading on November 28th, 2014.
However it will need to be prioritised by the parliamentary authorities to have a chance of becoming law before next year's May election.
It have to be granted Royal Assent by the end of March, which will be a tall order.
To get legal protection, tenants would need to call in the council to confirm there was a health and safety issue. They could then complain freely to the landlord, knowing he or she could not throw them out on that basis alone.
Minister for Communities Stephen Williams said he wanted to "outlaw revenge evictions once and for all - ensuring tenants do not face the prospect of losing their home simply because they've asked for essential repairs to be made".
The move had been called for by the housing charity Shelter.
"Nobody should have to raise their children in a place where their health and well-being are at risk, let alone live in fear of being thrown out simply for complaining about a problem in their home," said Campbell Robb, Shelter's chief executive.
Written by BBC Business News