The government may be changing its mind on scrapping Section 21 eviction powers according to a bombshell story in The Times.
Outlining what appears to be a government-leaked set of proposals, the newspaper says the long-held pledge by the Tories to scrap S21 powers could be shelved under changes demanded by Prime Minister Liz Truss.
Few other details of changes to eviction powers were set out in the newspaper but there has already been strong reaction.
Baroness Alicia Kennedy, director of activist group Generation Rent - and a former Labour Peer - tweets: “Totally flabbergasted. The Conservatives commitment to abolish evictions for no reason was made after a consultation, at a general election, confirmed by two prime ministers at three Queen’s speeches – if this is true it is shameful.”
Matthew Pennycook, Labour’s shadow housing minister, accused the Prime Minister of “betraying” private renters.
The Times says the new Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary Simon Clarke - known to be a close ally of Truss - has outlined a new set of priorities to boost house-building and economic growth.
This could include an increase in the threshold at which affordable homes are required to be built in housing developments, and lowering environmental criteria to be met by existing and new properties.
Paul Shamplina of Landlord Action, commenting on the Landlord Zone website, says: “If this true, after three years of indecision about being abolished, it would be a major victory for landlords. I speak to landlords and agents every day and the feedback has been they generally have been worried about being able to gain possession of a property back.
“This move will also see a lot of landlords change their mind in selling up, which can only be good for tenants. Housing stock has been dwindling and rents have been rising. I’ve said it all along it’s called non fault eviction, but there is always a fault.”
And Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, adds: “Whatever the Government’s plans, a wide range of reforms are desperately needed to support the sector. The supply crisis in the sector must be addressed urgently, while much more needs to be done to root out criminal and rogue landlords. Likewise vulnerable tenants can and should be better supported by unfreezing housing benefit rates.
“The NRLA will continue to work with all parties to ensure that reforms are fair and workable and command the support of tenants and responsible landlords.”