Housing

Renters Reform Bill: Tories vote down Labour bid to end no-fault evictions delay

The government has blocked a Labour proposal to ban Section 21 notices as soon as the Renters Reform Bill passes into law instead of waiting for courts to be reformed

no-fault evictions

While the Renters Reform Bill is set to continue its passage through Parliament, court reforms mean an indefinite delay to the long-promised end to no-fault evictions. Image: Allan Vega / Unsplash

The Tories have once again delayed a ban on no-fault evictions, voting down a Labour proposal to scrap them imminently.

The government’s Renters Reform Bill will ban landlords from evicting tenants without giving a reason.

But a last-minute change to the legislation means that the ban on no-fault evictions ­– also known as Section 21 notices – won’t come into force until after the courts have been reformed, a process for which there is currently no timeframe.

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Last night (28 November), the government blocked a Labour amendment that would see the ban come into force as soon as the Renters Reform Bill passes into law.

Labour’s shadow housing and planning minister Matthew Pennycook accused the government of “kicking the can down the road.”

“Having waited years for ministers to deliver on their promise, tens of thousands more families will now face the risk of homelessness as a result of this further delay,” he warned.

“If the Conservatives will not promptly deliver on their manifesto commitment to abolish no-fault evictions, the next Labour government will get the job done.”

When will the government ban no-fault evictions?

The Big Issue’s End Housing Insecurity Now campaign has been calling on ministers to scrap no-fault evictions at pace, warning they are a leading driver of homelessness.

The Tories first promised to ban Section 21 notices in 2019 when Theresa May was in charge. But four and a half years of delays have seen thousands of households lose their homes.

A total of 8,747 people in England and Wales were served a no-fault eviction between July and September this year – a rise of 32% on the same three-month period in 2022.

Such sudden evictions take a huge toll on renters like Steve, a teacher who found himself sleeping rough at Heathrow three years ago. The 53-year-old found private accomodation but said he could have been spending Christmas back at Heathrow after receiving a no-fault eviction earlier this summer. After challenging his eviction he will learn his fate in the new year.

“This Section 21 means I could have been homeless on the streets again,’ he told the Big Issue. “I’d have been back at Heathrow with my suitcases again, back to square one. What would that have done to my mental health? I’d have probably had another breakdown.”

Generation Rent slammed the outcome of last night’s vote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“The government has just voted down an amendment to abolish Section 21 evictions as soon as the King signs [the Renters Reform Bill] into law,” they posted. “After nearly five years of promises and record homelessness, renters need to see more urgency.”

We’re calling on the Prime Minister to make sure everyone can afford to stay in their homes and pay for the essentials by:

  • Unfreezing Local Housing Allowance rates
  • Increasing Universal Credit to £120 a week for a single adult and £200 for a couple

Will you add your voice to our call and sign the petition?

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