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Gove 'playing games with words' says leading evictions expert

david smith jmw

Property lawyer David Smith (main image) has questioned the accuracy of Michael Gove’s comments about funding the court system and banning Section 21 before the General Election.

Answering a question on the Laura Kuenssberg show about whether no fault evictions would be banned by then, the Housing Secretary said, “we will have outlawed it and we will have put the money into the courts in order to ensure that they can enforce that”.

Smith reckons Gove is playing games with words as, although the legislation is due to pass through parliament before the election, a ban wouldn’t take effect until a later date.

Improve the courts

The government announced in October that it would delay the abolition of Section 21 until reforms to improve the courts have progressed.

“Gove also said there would be money in the court system to deal with backlogs, but he doesn’t know that will happen,” he tells LandlordZONE.

“The Ministry of Justice needs to allocate the money – and specifically for the county courts – has he had that guarantee? Allocation of judicial resources is up to the Lady Chief Justice, and she may decide to put it towards fixing buildings.”

Possession cases are taking over half a year on average to process legitimate evictions by landlords and agents, according to the Ministry of Justice. The NRLA has warned the government that the crumbling courts system for evictions will undermine its hoped-for reforms of the private rental sector unless they are reformed.

Smith adds: “The government was looking a bit wobbly on the Bill and is saying it will press ahead but there is still uncertainty which isn’t helping the sector.”

Read an ultimate guide to the evictions process


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