Labour has accused the government of breaking its promise to people living in rented homes hit by the coronavirus crisis.
Shadow housing secretary John Healey said ministers had last week promised a “complete ban” on evictions.
But the measures contained in emergency coronavirus legislation published on Monday “just gives them some extra time to pack their bags”, he added.
The government has been contacted for a response.
But announcing the plan in the Commons last week, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “No renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.”
The new law, likely to come into force by the end of the week, extends all eviction notice periods from two to three months. The law also allows the government to extend the three month notice period to six months if it chooses.
‘Not good enough’
The government’s own explanatory notes on the bill say it “does not prevent a landlord from serving a notice of intention” to evict a tenant, “nor does it end a tenant’s liability for rental payments.”
In Tuesday’s House of Commons debate, Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the party was “extremely disappointed” with the measures which he described as “just not good enough”.
“Now is not the time for families to be downsizing or sofa-surfing,” he said. “It is important that the government acts to keep households in their homes.”
Earlier, Mr Healey tweeted: “This is not an evictions ban, as Labour argued for, and renters were eventually promised by Boris Johnson.
“This legislation does not stop people losing their homes as a result of coronavirus, just gives them some extra time to pack their bags.”
His criticisms were echoed by the housing charity Shelter, which called for a “wholesale and complete halt” to all evictions to prevent people losing their homes during the crisis.
Chief executive, Polly Neate, said: “Today’s watered-down measures risk homelessness and uncertainty at this worrying time.
“For the next three months, as many as 20,000 eviction proceedings already in progress will go ahead and eviction notices will continue to land on renters’ doormats.”
She said the wording of the government amendment meant that renters in self-isolation could lose their homes by June, and she warned this could add to the risk to people’s health.
She said: “It defies belief that while so much effort is going into a co-ordinated medical response to this pandemic, the government is prepared to allow so many evictions to continue – putting at risk not just those losing their homes, but also the people they are forced into contact with.
“This emergency legislation must not continue in its current form.”