Housing

No-fault evictions will be banned by next election, Michael Gove promises: 'We will have outlawed it'

The housing secretary hit back at speculation the Renters Reform Bill will fail to pass by the general election as the issue promises to become a hot topic on the campaign trail

Michael Gove promises no-fault evictions will be banned by general election

Housing secretary Michael Gove (centre) said the government will deliver on its long-promised no-fault evictions ban, ending a five-year wait for renters. Image: Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

No-fault evictions will be scrapped by the time Britain goes to the polls in the general election, housing secretary Michael Gove has promised.

The cabinet minister promised renters the five-year wait for the ban would end this year following speculation the government would fail to deliver on its 2019 Conservative manifesto pledge.

More than 26,000 households have been evicted by county court bailiffs after receiving a Section 21 notice since the government promised to axe them in April 2019.

The long-delayed Renters Reform Bill is set to bring in a ban but renting campaigners accused the government of bowing to “vested interests” last week when the legislation was missing from upcoming House of Commons business.

Not so, said Gove, who also promised court reforms he had previously said would delay the ban would be funded.

“We will have outlawed it and we will put the money into the courts in order to ensure that they can enforce it,” Gove told BBC’s Sunday Politics show.

He added: “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.”

Gove’s comments came after new government statistics revealed the number of households losing their homes to no-fault evictions rose by 50% last year.

Following the figures, around 20 charities and pro-renter campaign groups signed an open letter to the housing secretary calling on the government to bring through the Renters Reform Bill and tighten up loopholes.

The letter, signed by Shelter, the Health Foundation and the National Union of Students, among others, accused the government of “not engaging with attempts to highlight loopholes and strengthen the legislation.”

It warned tenants will still be vulnerable to unfair evictions and urged ministers to bring in stronger penalties for misusing new eviction grounds and called for eviction notice periods to be doubled from two to four months.

Tom Darling, campaign manager at the Renters’ Reform Coalition, said: “In truth, the proposed bill is not going to be a silver bullet. In reality we need reform that goes much further than the legislation as it stands – with longer tenancies, more time for renters to find a new home when evictions do happen, higher penalties for unscrupulous landlords, and a cap on rent increases to prevent unaffordable rent hikes becoming, in effect, no-fault evictions.”

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