Housing

Liz Truss says she will honour Tory pledge to ban no-fault evictions after all

Reports claimed the new prime minister was planning to break a manifesto promise to protect renters. Now Truss said she will stop landlords evicting tenants without a reason.

Liz Truss says she will end the use of no-fault evictions

Prime minister Liz Truss has said she will bring scrap no-fault evictions after all following an angry response to claims she would U-turn on the 2019 Tory manifesto pledge. Image: Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

Liz Truss has confirmed she does intend to honour a Tory manifesto promise to stop landlords evicting tenants at will, following reports she was set to break the pledge.

Labour accused the prime minister of “betraying renters” on Tuesday following reports from The Times that suggested she would shelve plans to ban a process that allows landlords to evict tenants without giving a reason.

No-fault evictions, also known as section 21 evictions, are considered to be a leading driver of homelessness. There has been a surge in evictions in the last year after protections for renters introduced during the pandemic expired.

Graham Stringer, the Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton, asked Truss if she would commit to scrapping no-fault evictions at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

“Spooking the markets and increasing the cost of borrowing and mortgages was almost certainly an act of gross incompetence rather than malevolence,” said Stringer.

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“But going back on the commitment to end no-fault evictions is an act of extreme callousness. Can the prime minister reassure private renters in this country that she will carry out the commitment to get rid of no-fault evictions?

Truss replied: “I can.” 

Alicia Kennedy, the director of Generation Rent, said Truss’s response represented “two welcome words”.  She added: “But, to reassure renters, can Number 10 and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities clarify this means sticking to the plan of a Renters’ Reform Bill this parliamentary session?”

Labour’s shadow housing secretary Lisa Nandy criticised the government for the confusion over its stance on the issue.

Nandy said: “The Tories promised to scrap no fault evictions in their manifesto. Then they suggested they wouldn’t. Now they say they will. This is hardly reassuring for renters only a few weeks away from losing their homes. Does anyone in government have a clue what they’re doing?”

Theresa May first announced plans to scrap no-fault evictions in 2019 and they were included in her replacement Boris Johnson’s Conservative manifesto for the general election in the same year.

Former housing secretary Michael Gove announced the Renters Reform Bill in June, promising the new legislation would scrap section 21 evictions for good.

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The suggestion that the the government did not consider the legislation a “priority” sparked anger among housing and rent campaigners.

Osama Bhutta, director of campaigns at Shelter, said a U-turn on banning no-fault evictions would “pour fuel on the housing emergency and make thousands homeless”.

The housing charity said in April nearly 230,000 private renters received a section 21 eviction notice in the three years since former PM May’s April 2019 promise to end their use.

Almost 20,000 households faced homelessness due to a no-fault eviction in England in 2021/22, official figures show. That’s more than double the number in 2020/21 when evictions were halted due to the pandemic.

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