Housing Secretary rejects rent controls but defends abolition of ‘no fault’ evictions

Housing Secretary of State James Brokenshire has rejected suggestions that the Conservatives could bring in rent controls.

However, Brokenshire made clear his commitment to ending Section 21 – or, as The Sunday Times put it yesterday, “Landlords will lose their automatic  right to kick tenants out”.

In an interview with the paper, Brokenshire said it was meeting a homeless man with a dog at a shelter in Bristol just before Christmas that led him to announce the biggest change to the private rented sector for 30 years.

He said that the meeting had moved him to think what could have prevented the man ending up on the street with his dog, adding that tenants being asked to leave without good reason is “one of the most significant factors in homelessness”.

Brokenshire told The Sunday Times that he was keen not to antagonise buy-to-let investors, downplaying concerns that landlords could leave the sector in droves.

He said that while he recognises that “push back”, he plans to give owners rights to regain their property to sell up or live in it, and to speed up court processes to evict tenants for rent arrears or damage.

Brokenshire added: “What we’re firmly not looking at is rent controls. You can point back to the past and the profound impact that had.”

Brokenshire said that the difference between Labour and Tory housing policies is that the Tories support home ownership, whereas “Labout is not interested in home ownership at all”.


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  1. Property Money Tree

    Why was the man homeless?

    Landlords have to give at least 2 months notice under s21, and that is usually eenough time for a tenant to secure alternative accommodation.  Arguably it is harder for people on benefits, but if that’s the case, the man would have been homeless because he was on benefits and not because of s21…

    1. Will2

      The man will have less chance with less supply as governments continues to attack the supply chain and NOT INVEST in social housing themselves. Brokenshire’s mate George Osbourne and his s24 is going to have been a significant reason for the service of S21 in recent times as landlords are forced by the Conservatives to sell up.

  2. Will2

    Fool. Not the homeless man and a dog story! So an emotive decision not based on evidence, logic and reasoning then. The cons will loose the support of some of their traditional voters who feel wholly and totally betrayed by the party they traditionally would have supported.  This is all part of a greater plan to “kick out smaller landlords” so his toff mates can take over a “controlled market”.   Many smaller landlords may not realise the return to Rent Act 1977 security of tenure standards is likely to half or less the value of their investments. The property profession needs to wake up. Perhaps follow the Shelter model and mass service of s21 to demonstrate their displeasure.
    Shame he did not look back to the early 1980’s and look at the effects of security of tenure on housing supply. Now eccentuated by the asset stripping by the conservatives of social housing when Thatcher purchased votes by selling council housing at half price.  This is all political Bull.

  3. kittygirl06

    How rediculous based on a chat with a homeless man.  What was the landlords view then?

    If you think landlords bel anything that comes out of government you must be mad.

    We have been fed lie after lie.

    Perhaps the biggest was the S24 consultation, what a farce.

    No S21 will mean no benefit tenant.





  4. JamesB

    Is that the best Brokenshire can come up with ? Why doesn’t he be honest and say ending Section 21 will solve nothing but will drive more landlords out, but a cracking way to win some generation rent votes…   surely the tenants can see past this vote winner and it is a bad move for them.  Only 8% of U.K. tenancies are ended by the landlords and that includes selling up, rogue tenants and arrears and tenants asking for the notice for council list, how many will this save ?  I’d be surprised if 1%.

  5. ArthurHouse02

    Christ, if you’re going to make something up James at least make it believable. If you really did meet a homeless person its more than likely due to there not being enough social housing, or not being enough jobs paying a reasonable salary to pay his rent, or he could just be a deadbeat to wanted to fleece the system until he was evicted.

    Either way i’ll doubt you’ll being housing secretary for long enough to see the problems that rise from this, but hey ho, you look after yourself mate.

    Lastly no story about how the housing secretary helped find this homeless chap a home? “Oh, you’re homeless, shame about that….dont worry i’ll abolish section 21s that will help you”…….

  6. jeremy1960

    Not sure what is worse, an MP coming out with such c**p or a once respected newspaper publishing the article?!

    It’s a bit like Mrs Thatcher saying she had a bad steak at an argentinian steak house so she decided to send thousands of troops thousands of miles to teach them a lesson, complete rubbish.

    I and many that I speak to cannot wait for the current crop of politicians to be ousted and some logic and experience to take their places!

  7. The_Maluka

    Homeless man with a dog?  I have several of these individuals living in my properties all out in the high street begging to supplement their housing benefit.

  8. PossessionFriendUK39

    So the Government not paying enough in housing benefit for tenants to afford rent = Landlords kicking them out. ! ? 
    Pot calling the kettle black comes to mind.
    Even Shelter say that 97% of LHA rates  are below market rent.
    About time Govt took responsibility for their own policies.

  9. LetItGo

    I have never kicked anyone out without good reason. Those reasons fall into the following categories: 1, the landlord genuinely wanted the property back, either to sell or to move in to. 2, The tenant was a pain in the backside, either damaging the property or being late with the rent or similarly undesirable, only to be replaced by a ‘better’ tenant. Its s8 that is failing, s21 provide a simple, low cost solution that is rarely defended or dependable. A landlord should be able to remove whoever they want, whenever they want from their property. Neither they nor their property is a commodity, a social provision or provides a right for a tenant to treat as they wish.

    1. Will2

      Fake news from a fake government influenced by fake charities

  10. JMK

    “Housing Secretary of State James Brokenshire has rejected suggestions that the Conservatives could bring in rent controls.”

    I guess rent controls will be here soon then.

  11. DarrelKwong43

    Utter joke of a Government…even the new section 21 notice (form 6A) has a typo

  12. Woodentop

    PRS is as it says private, not state owned nationalised industry. Landlords are not compelled to be social landlords …. but this is where it is leading because every government has never tackled the homeless and lack of social housing and find it more convenient to use the PRS to meet its obligations.

  13. JMK

    “a homeless man with a dog at a shelter in Bristol just before Christmas”. 

    Is it just me or does this seem just a tad contrived?

    Or perhaps Mr B has been reading too much Dickens.

  14. MF

    I’ve been running my lettings business since March 1988 and of the few S21s we’ve served in that time, not one has been without ‘good reason’.

  15. Jacqui@callaways.co.uk

    This just goes to show that the government has no idea of the real world. They need to sort out their own social housing before attacking the Private Rented sector and once that has been done then they have a right to comment. However homeless with a dog in Bristol Christmas did he really go there? why now does he bring this up? what a load of contrived rubbish. Brokenshire get a grip and open your eyes to see what’s really going on. You will be having more homeless with dogs if you carry on attaching the private Landlords and Letting agents. Get your own house in order first then we will see!!!!!!

  16. Eyereaderturnedposter12

    The current political landscape in Britain is nothing short of laughable (or tear-inducing, depending upon how you look at it!)…

    What saddens me greatly, is that there appears to be no ‘light at the end of tunnel’ in terms of sensible individuals (who have the merest clue as to what they are doing or how to do it) currently in the top echelons of politics, who take a considered approach to governing this country…

    Commentators often cite Independent African States as examples of corruption and political ineptitude- No need to now, we’ve got our very own inept and corrupt political elite…


  17. CountryLass

    I heard on the news today that the government are now saying that victims of domestic abuse HAVE to be housed in the same location as they were living in. Where are they planning to get these houses from?

    As long as there are enough valid reasons for a Landlord to get possession back without having to go to Court, then I would not be worried about losing S21, but with the track record of politicians at the moment, I am worried… The Courts are taking months at the moment, so when we add in the straight-forward possession claims and it will get worse!

    1. Will2

      Countrylass, with all due respect you should be worried by loss of S21. The reason being thet your clients/investors will leave the market because it will leave them unable to liquidate their assets making it a very unsafe investment.  Back in the late 1970’s and the 1980’s when the Rent Act 1977 introduce security of tenure for tenants and their successors! the market stopped and there was no rentals except furnished short term or company lets outside of the legislation.  History tells the story but many are now too young to recall these events probably including Brokenshire and do not understand the impact this will have. The effects of rent control and inability to sell investments reduced capital values to around 50% of OMV of vacant property at the time. In 1980 you could not rent – your either stayed at home, got council housing (no chance of this option now!) or lodged in a room outside of the RA1977. Be worried; very worried!  We all know how lawyers will find reasons for landlords to not  be able to repossess – we have seen this with the Government’s antics on S21 conditions applied now such as deposits, gas safety rules etc.  This is all very sinister.

      1. CountryLass

        You may be right; I wasn’t born until mid 80’s so I don’t know what the market/sector was like then. But surely as long as we have something similar to the Mandatory Grounds on S8 it should be fine? LL selling? Mandatory, 2 months. T always pays late? Mandatory, 1 month. T causing (documented and verified) nuisance to surrounding occupants? Mandatory, 2 months. 1 month if police have been involved. T refusing to agree to rent increase based on (verified) market rate? Mandatory, 2 months. T in 2 months arrears at time of serving? Mandatory, 2 weeks. 2 months if arrears cleared by end of 2 week notice.

        Maybe I have my rose tinted specs on though…

        1. Will2

          With age come cynicism but also wisdom at times!  Thin end of the wedge also springs to mind. I read your posts and we are usually on the same page. If the changes are not going to be drastic why change it?  Look what happended with the promised 6 weeks rent as a deposit at the last minute reduced to 5 weeks.  Can you really trust policitians?  Another point to consider is if you give courts the rights to look into whether or not grounds under S8 for a landlord to gain possession what will happen?  Greedy over-paid  amulance chasing money grabbing lawyers and lunatic left wing nut case charities will magic reasons for possession not to be granted. These will then be expanded by case law. I may be a miserable old fool but life experince tells me you never trust any politician and history has a way of predicting the future

          1. CountryLass

            Will2, I wouldn’t trust politicians if they told me oxygen was a good thing! Someone told me that there has been over 200 legislation changes to PRS in the last 2 years…

            I am concerned that S21 is going, but I’m hopeful that something similar will replace it. At the end of the day, the Landlord is the owner of the house, and should be free to do with it what he wishes (as long as it’s legal, obviously!). And I do worry that some Landlords are going to leave the sector, but maybe as I don’t have the benefit of your *ahem* enhanced wisdom 😉 it is likely I haven’t grasped the full extent of it. I didn’t even know what Rent Controls were at first, I thought it was the limit of how much you  could increase the rent each year, which is a good thing obviously as it would stop bad landlords and agents chucking £200 a month on to the rent to get a Tenant to leave! But the way that things are going, that might be the best way to get a property back, increase the rent so drastically that the Tenant has to leave, then remarket it at market rate…

            1. Will2

              Countrylass, I am not critical of you but if you excuse my little story which paints a true picture of that time (circa early 1980’s). If you were not around in the late 1970’s-80’s you would not know what it was like; why would you?  A true story.   I was working in SE London.  A four storey Georgian town house (albe it in appalling condition) in the BEST part of fashionable Greenwich (close to the park) was rented at what was called a “fair rent” set by the Rent Officer at £10.00 per week; in good condition might have been circa £14 pw. They were called controlled rents at the time. To relate that at that same time a typical roof repair to replace a couple of slates would have cost about £30.00.  As a newly qualified Chartered Surveyor I had a starting salary of £5,000 at that time.  Rent Control was not just capping rents.  It was based on the false premis of “supply and demand were equal”. Rents were set for three years; later reduced to two years and rent increases phased in. The 1977 Act not only artifically controlled rents it gave succession rights so if your tenant dies the next of kin has the same rights and if I recall correctly it was 2 successions. So a Husband could die and the tenancy would pass to the wife and when she died it passed to the child/relation. Due to this there really was no rented market apart from statutory tenancies from an earlier government ******** landlords of the time (about to be repeated!).  I think most people now will have difficulty in understanding what it was like.  You only need to read how many people do not abuse S21 to realise this is all for politcial reasons. I fully understand if you had not seen what happended years ago how easy it is “to be lead into believing it won’t be all that bad”.  Don’t get me wrong I am not critical of others views but I am seriously perturbed by what is happening.  It is not good for tenants or landlords except those tenants with myopia who think they are somehow winning the day. At present there is not a political party competent enough to govern the UK.


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