Government accused of deprioritising rental reforms amid latest evictions rise

by The Technical Blogs


Campaigners have accused the Government of having “deprioritised” long-awaited rental reforms just as new figures showed a steep rise in repossessions after no-fault eviction orders in England.

Since the Government first vowed in April 2019 to end these section 21 evictions, thousands of households have been “marched out of their homes”, according to housing charity Shelter.

The latest statistics, published on Thursday by the Ministry of Justice, show that some 26,311 accelerated possessions have been made from the second quarter of 2019 until the end of 2023.

Landlords can apply for an accelerated possession order if their tenants have not left by the date specified in the section 21 notice.

It’s utterly shameful that the Government is bowing to vested interests while renters are marched out of their homes in their thousands

Polly Neate, Shelter

There were 9,457 such repossessions last year, up from 6,339 in 2022 – a 49% rise.

As the figures were released, Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt outlined upcoming business in Parliament but made no mention of the Renters (Reform) Bill.

Labour’s Lucy Powell, responding in the Commons, complained that the report stage of the Bill “was promised by early February, but it’s nowhere to be seen”.

In a statement, the party’s shadow minister for housing and planning, Matthew Pennycook, said: “The stark rise in section 21 notices served last year lays bare the devastating impact that the Tories’ failure to abolish them is having on hard-pressed renters.”

He vowed that if the Government does not “get on and quickly pass the Bill abolishing section 21 evictions, that the next Labour government “will get the job done”.

Tom Darling, campaign manager of the Renters’ Reform Coalition, described the Bill as “on life-support after being deprioritised by the Government”.

He voiced concern that the “vital legislation won’t get passed before the election”, saying that if it does not it would be “an outrageous betrayal of England’s 11 million private renters”.

The Prime Minister needs to do something that does not come naturally to him, deliver on his Government’s promises

Helen Morgan, Lib Dems

While charities and campaigners have demanded urgency on fulfilment of the pledge to ban section 21 no-fault evictions, the Government last year said the abolition will not come in until reforms in the court system to ensure it is a fair process also for landlords.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “It’s utterly shameful that the Government is bowing to vested interests while renters are marched out of their homes in their thousands.”

Referring to the next election, Ms Neate said: “When they head for the ballot box, England’s 11 million renters will remember who stood with them.”

Liberal Democrat housing spokeswoman Helen Morgan accused Rishi Sunak of a “failure to bring forward the ban” and said it is “having devastating consequences for vulnerable families across the country”.

She added: “The Prime Minister needs to do something that does not come naturally to him, deliver on his Government’s promises.”

Asked when the Government plans to bring in the ban, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “I don’t actually have an update on that.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said the Bill will “deliver a fairer private rented sector for both tenants and landlords” and “will abolish section 21 evictions”.

It is understood the Bill is expected to return to the House of Commons “shortly”.



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