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Michael Gove pledges to end no-fault evictions before general election

The housing secretary Michael Gove has insisted that the government will follow through with its plan to ban no-fault evictions before the next election, despite repeated delays to the legislation.

The Conservative party‘s 2019 manifesto pledged to outlaw Section 21 – a provision that allows landlords to evict tenants without having to give a reason outside of a tenancy agreement.

But the legislation has been continuously delayed, leading housing campaigners to question the government’s commitment.

The renters reform bill, which contains provisions to outlaw the practice, has been going through parliament, but is now not expected to be debated again until next month.

The Renters Reform Bill has been continually delayed (PA)
The Renters Reform Bill has been continually delayed (PA)

A further 30,230 landlords started no-fault eviction court proceedings in 2023 – a 28 per cent rise in one year.

On BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Mr Gove guaranteed that no-fault evictions will be banned by the time of the general election later this year.

Asked whether the practice will have ended by the time Britain goes to the polls, despite his previous concerns that the courts may not be able to cope, Mr Gove said: “We will have outlawed it, and we will put the money into the courts in order to ensure that they can enforce it.”

Mr Gove’s legislation has faced significant opposition from within his own party, as nearly one in five Conservative MPs are also landlords.

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.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said the bill would reduce the number of rental properties in The Cotswolds (PA)
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said the bill would reduce the number of rental properties in The Cotswolds (PA)

Mr Gove said: “I’m doing everything I can, I mean short of laying siege to his own home.

“Every day I send him a note or a message emphasising the importance of doing more to unlock housing supply.

He added: “And he gets it. So Jeremy Hunt is someone who absolutely appreciates the importance of supporting the next generation.”

Responding to Michael Gove’s comments this morning, Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper MP said:

“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.”