Shropshire Star

Leader calls for more social homes to be built amid rising calls for abolition of 'no fault evictions'

A Labour leader in Shropshire has called for more social homes to be built amid pressure for the abolition of private landlords' "no fault evictions".

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The Government is under fire for not yet introducing changes in the law to stop private sector landlords evicting tenants without good reason.

There are fears that the abolition of this power could cause some private landlords to leave the housing market.

Speaking on the BBC on Sunday Councillor Shaun Davies, the Labour leader of Telford & Wrekin Council said: "We have been calling for an end to no fault evictions for some time.

"We need to build more housing, both council and social housing."

He said it should be a human right to have a home and that investment is needed in social housing.

Councillor Davies added that people also need help to buy their own homes as well.

Private renting is particularly used by many young people but government figures from the end of 2022 show increases in landlord possession claims and repossessions.

The Government has proposed a Renters Reform Bill but has so far not put it forward to the House of Commons.

Conservative West Worcestershire MP Harriet Baldwin, who represents Tenbury Wells close to the Shropshire border, told Politics Midlands that she agrees that "housing is fundamentally broken."

She said that Government ministers will be bringing forward legislation "shortly" on reforming section 21 no fault evictions.

She added: "It is really important that the commitment we made comes forward."

Last week in the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt sidestepped questions about the future of the Government's plans to abolish leaseholds, after rumours suggested they would not go ahead.

The Commons Leader faced questions about newspaper reports that ministers were backing away from long-awaited leasehold reforms, but answered by assuring MPs that the Government would continue with its plans to ban no-fault evictions from rental properties.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove had promised to introduce legislation to "fundamentally reform" the leasehold system, a form of home ownership that gives the householder the right to live in a property for a fixed number of years.

But a report in The Guardian suggests that abolishing leaseholds will not form part of a series of reforms due to be announced by Mr Gove in the coming weeks.

Referring to the reports in the Commons, Labour MP Justin Madders (Ellesmere Port and Neston) said: "There were newspaper reports overnight that the Government are going to U-turn on some of the plans, particularly to abolish leasehold altogether which is a firm Government commitment.

"If there is a U-turn on that, that would represent a massive betrayal for the millions of leaseholders up and down the country."

He asked: "Can we please have the Secretary of State for Levelling Up (Mr Gove) here at the next opportunity to explain what their position is on leasehold reform?"

Commons Leader Ms Mordaunt replied: "I will make sure that the Secretary of State has heard what he has said today.

"With regard to any rumours as well about the Renters Reform Bill, as I say, that legislation will be brought forward very shortly."

Shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire had earlier pressed Ms Mordaunt to reveal when the Government's reforms to the rental sector would be brought forward.

Ms Debbonaire told the Commons: "One whole year on since the Queen's Speech, what does the Government have to show for it? You don't have to follow every twist and turn of their chaotic mishandling of legislation to know that the answer is next to nothing."

She said Ms Mordaunt could have announced the Renters Reform Bill the Government "has been promising for more than four years" in its forthcoming agenda for the Commons.

Ms Mordaunt insisted the Renters Reform Bill is not delayed, and said the Government will legislate to abolish Section 21 evictions.

Responding to Labour, she said: "The Rented Homes Bill... is not delayed and I look forward to the Opposition's support.

"It will deliver the Government's commitment to a fairer private rented sector for responsible tenants and good faith landlords. The Bill will legislate to abolish Section 21 no-fault evictions amongst many other measures."