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Leading Tory lobbyist warns Gove over Section 21 evictions

Ben Cope Tories Section 21 evictions

A leading Tory lobbyist and political commentator has called on the government to ditch plans for abolishing Section 21 amid fears that it will only worsen the housing crisis.

In an indication that the Conservatives are turning on Michael Gove, Ben Cope says although the Housing Secretary is catching on that Britain’s chronic housing shortage will hit his party at the polls, the Renters Reform Bill needs some urgent changes.

Writing for Conservative Home, Cope says the Bill’s glaring error - a ban on no-fault evictions - fails to address the lack of supply that is the root cause of housing woes.

“The Lords should amend the Renters Reform Bill to remove the ban on no-fault evictions, while adding in specific powers to the new ombudsmen to protect marginalised groups at risk of discrimination,” he adds.


“The government, keen that the Bill’s other measures reach the statute book before the election, would cut their losses and ditch the pledge. Renters may grumble, but it would be in their interest.”

While claims a ban on no-fault evictions would push one in four landlords to sell up entirely are overdone (better conditions for renters will increase demand relative to buying, increasing rent and thus incentivising landlords to stay the course), says Cope, it will encourage landlords to keep properties empty for short periods to find a tenant they may be saddled with for years, reducing the net housing stock and pushing up rents further.

“Gove may not have created the housing crisis, but by failing to come close to their unambitious target of building 300,000 houses per year even once, they’ve been part of the problem, not the solution,” he adds.

“Rather than tinkering with our insufficient housing stock, we need drastic supply-side reform to address Britain’s chronic housing shortage.”

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Section 21