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Ban on no-fault evictions delayed again as ministers battle revolt by Tory MPs and lobbying landlords

iNews // SAPRS Chairman Calum MacInnes’ comment in iNews.

A long-promised ban on “no-fault” evictions has been delayed indefinitely as ministers scramble to avoid a Tory revolt amid lobbying from landlords.

Michael Gove has written to MPs promising that the ban on so-called “section 21” evictions, which allow landlords to remove tenants without having to give a reason, will not come into effect until after an overhaul of the courts.

The Government has not given a deadline for the change to take effect, prompting anger from campaigners.

Groups representing landlords, and some Conservative backbenchers, have claimed that the change to the law contained in the Renters (Reform) Bill would make it impossible to deal with nuisance tenants and risk seizing up the rental market.

In a letter to MPs, Levelling Up Secretary Mr Gove said: “Implementation of the new system will not take place until we judge sufficient progress has been made to improve the courts.”

He is not making any changes to the bill, which was set to face its first House of Commons vote on Monday night, but promised the abolition of section 21 would be delayed.

A senior government source pointed to a report from a cross-party select committee calling for a phased implementation of the new legislation, adding: “We are well aware of the need for urgency, it is a manifesto commitment.”

But a Downing Street spokesman was unable to say when the ban would actually come into force, saying: “The Bill will deliver on the Government’s manifesto commitment to abolish no-fault evictions.

“It’s right that courts are ready for what will be the most significant reforms to tenancy laws in three decades. I think we’ve said from the start the implementation will be phased and I don’t know exactly if there’s set timelines to that.”

The ban on no-fault evictions was first promised by Theresa May and then included by Boris Johnson in the last Conservative manifesto but has been repeatedly delayed thanks to internal opposition.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader and Mr Gove’s shadow, said: “The Government has betrayed renters with this grubby deal with the Tory backbenches.

“The Conservatives’ long-promised ban on no-fault evictions has majority and cross-party support across the House, but this flip-flop kicks it into the long grass. Having broken the justice system, they are now using their own failure to indefinitely delay keeping their promises to renters in the most underhand way.”

Tom Darling of the Renters’ Reform Coalition added: “This is a pathetic, last-minute concession to keep the Conservative party together and the rebellion down, and it will have a terrible human cost – a renter faces losing their home every 15 minutes because of section 21.”

But Ben Beadle of the National Residential Landlords’ Association applauded the move, saying: “Following extensive campaigning by the NRLA we welcome the approach taken by ministers to ensure court improvements are made before section 21 ends.”

Some groups of property owners are pushing for further concessions, including a carve-out for student accommodation from the tougher rules, which Calum MacInnes of the Student Accredited Private Rental Sector warned “could lead to a collapse in availability of student housing”

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