16:55 PM, 12th February 2024, About 3 weeks ago 21
Housing Secretary Michael Gove has pledged to ban Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions in England by the next general election, which is due by January 2025.
No-fault evictions allow landlords to evict tenants without giving a reason, which campaigners say leaves renters vulnerable to unfair treatment and insecurity.
The Conservative Party promised to end this practice in its 2019 manifesto, but the Renters (Reform) Bill to implement it has not yet been passed by Parliament.
The government has also said that the court system needs to be improved before a ban can take effect, which has raised fears that the reform could be delayed for years.
However, in an interview with the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme, Mr Gove said he was confident that the ban would be in place by the next election.
He said: “We will have outlawed it, and we will have put the money into the courts in order to ensure that they can enforce that.”
The Bill would also limit the circumstances under which landlords can evict tenants in England, such as when they want to sell the property or move in themselves or a close relative.
Mr Gove said he recognised the need to deal with the ‘abuse’ of no-fault evictions by a ‘small minority of unscrupulous landlords’ who use it to increase rents or silence complaints.
He added: “It is the case that there are a small minority of unscrupulous landlords who use the threat of eviction either to jack up rents or to silence people who are complaining about the quality of their homes.”
Watch Mr Gove making his pledge to end Section 21 evictions:
Mr Gove also defended the government’s record on housebuilding, saying that it was taking action to increase the supply of homes in England.
The Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto pledged to build 300,000 homes a year in England by the mid-2020s, but the latest figures show that only 234,397 new homes were added in 2022-23.
He said he was “doing everything I can” to persuade the Chancellor to invest more money in housing in the spring Budget.
He also revealed that the government would announce measures next week to make it easier to convert buildings such as office blocks and department stores into new homes.
There will also be incentives to developers to build on brownfield land to allow ‘tens of thousands of new homes’ to be built.
In response to Mr Gove’s pledge to end Section 21, Tom Darling, campaign manager of the Renters’ Reform Coalition, suggested the government had ‘dragged their feet’ on abolishing no-fault evictions.
He said: “We will hold the government to this commitment.
“We’ll also be making sure the government don’t give in to landlord attempts to gut the bill – if these evictions are banned in name only then the government won’t be getting a pat on the back from anyone.”
Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner, who is also the party’s shadow housing secretary, said: “These are yet more weasel words from Michael Gove after years of broken promises.
“Having broken the justice system, the Tories are now using their own failure to indefinitely delay keeping their promises to renters in the most underhand way.”
On X, formerly Twitter, the National Residential Landlords Association’s chief executive, Ben Beadle, said: “Renters will be provided with a legitimate reason under the new provisions – the reality is though, this Bill doesn’t address underlying causes why evictions might take place.
“Renter groups clearly want to stop landlords from selling up with a bonkers two year moratorium on landlords giving notice.
“Far better they join our calls to reverse tax changes and encourage investment into the PRS to give much needed supply.”
He added: “By encouraging investment, there will be more homes, less disruption and it will actually reduce rents. Their plans will only choke off supply further.
“Yes, of course, social housing is part of the answer – but we need solutions now, not in a decade.”
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