Housing secretary Michael Gove has insisted that Section 21 evictions will be “outlawed” in England by the next general election.
The Conservative party‘s 2019 manifesto pledged to end the right of landlords to evict tenants without needing a reason in 2019.
However, the legislation has been continuously delayed, leading housing campaigners to question the government’s commitment.
But the government has previously said a ban cannot be enacted until the court system is improved – a position supported by the National Residential Landlords Association.
In October last year, MPs started debating the Renters (Reform) Bill, which includes a ban on Section 21 evictions in England, but the legislation has not yet completed its passage through Parliament.
Asked if he could guarantee the practice would end by the time of the next general election, which must take place by the end of January 2025, Gove told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme yesterday: “We will have outlawed it and we will have put the money into the courts in order to ensure that they can enforce that.”
Gove’s legislation has faced significant opposition from within his own party, as almost one in five Conservative MPs are also landlords. It is worth noting that there are a plethora of landlords across other political parties, including Labour.
Late last year, a series of Conservative MPs voiced their opposition to the Renters Reform Bill, saying it would add “to the burden of landlords”.
In the Commons, Conservative former minister Sir Edward Leigh told MPs: “Banning no-fault evictions will make the rental market even more stagnant and will lead to a further drying up of it.”
He added: “And apart from adding to the burden of landlords, we don’t want a situation that happened in Ireland, where the regulatory burdens on landlords is such that the rental sector has shrunk massively and governments have paid the price in terms of popularity.”
Conservative MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown also said the bill would have a “disastrous effect” on areas including his constituency “in reducing the number of rental properties, and therefore increasing the price of rent, and for youngsters this is really serious”.
The housing secretary also said he is doing everything he can “short of laying siege” to the chancellor’s home to persuade him to put more money into housing in the spring Budget.
Responding to Gove’s comments yesterday, 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.”
She added: “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.”
Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper commented: “It is shocking that this Conservative government has repeatedly chosen to delay their promised ban on no-fault evictions.
“Michael Gove’s words will ring hollow for those who have waited for so long for this urgently needed reform.”
She added: “This government has turned a blind eye to the housing crisis in this country, 16 housing ministers later, people are still facing the same problems.
“Renters shouldn’t have to face losing their homes through no fault of their own any longer. Rishi Sunak and Michael Gove must stick to their promise before more and more families get caught up in these devastating consequences.”