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Minister grilled over conflicting Section 21 evictions ban promises

Cross-party peers have grilled Housing Minister Baroness Penn (main image) over the government’s ambiguous assurance that no-fault evictions would be banned before the general election.

It follows Housing Secretary Michael Gove’s response to a question earlier this month when the Housing Secretary said that by then, “we will have outlawed it and we will have put the money into the courts in order to ensure that they can enforce that”.

Shadow Housing Spokesperson Baroness Taylor of Stevenage pressed Penn on what plans the government had to implement the ban before the end of this parliamentary session – one of three peers to pose similar questions during a Lords debate.

“In committee on the Renters Reform Bill, the minister has said that the ban cannot be enacted until court reforms are complete,” said Baroness Taylor.

“Can the minister please set out what court reforms are to be put in place and the timetable for delivering them, so that the ban on Section 21 can be operational before a general election?”


Baroness Penn replied that by then it would have passed the Bill and put money into the courts to ensure it could enforce it. She explained that the intention had always been to give six months’ notice for implementing Section 21 for new tenancies.

She added: “We need to allow time for the courts to prepare for this, to allow evictions, court rules, forms and administrative systems to be updated. It is also to allow for secondary legislation that flows from the primary legislation to be laid, and for guidance to be put in place.

"But we are working hard, and we have already provided upfront money to the court system to kick-start that process, so that we can move towards implementation as soon as possible.”


Section 21