Brighton's MPs have expressed concern at the government’s plan to postpone a ban on no-fault evictions indefinitely.

Housing secretary Michael Gove told Conservative MPs that a ban on section 21 evictions, promised by the Conservatives in their 2019 manifesto, will not be enacted before a series of improvements are made in the legal system.

Section 21 evictions give landlords the power to evict tenants without giving a reason, with tenants given two months to leave before a landlord can apply for a court order to evict them.

In a letter first reported by LBC, Mr Gove told Tories that “implementation of the new system will not take place until we judge sufficient progress has been made to improve the courts”.

A timescale for how long these reforms will take has not been revealed by the government.

The news came as parliament debated the Renters Reform Bill, which will now undergo further scrutiny after passing its second reading.

The Argus: Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton PavilionCaroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion

In Brighton and Hove, where more than 30 per cent of households are privately rented, both Caroline Lucas and Lloyd Russell-Moyle expressed their concern and anger at the move.

The Green MP for Brighton Pavilion demanded the government reveal when the ban will be put back on the agenda and called on a loophole in the proposal to be closed.

She said: “It is deeply concerning that the government appeared to have kicked that part of the bill down the road by saying that they first need to fix the mess they have made of the court delays. We need to know exactly when we can expect that part of the bill to come back.”

Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown Lloyd Russell-Moyle said that the no-fault eviction ban should have been "straightforward" to accomplish.

However, he said: "Unfortunately, vested interests control the Conservative Party, and they've made a grubby deal to try and delay this reform.

"I am confident that their efforts won't succeed, and I'm working with MPs across the House to get this bill onto the statute books.

"If it isn't done by them it will be one of the first bills of a Labour government."

Hove MP Peter Kyle said the government's failure to press ahead with the promised reform "has left tens of thousands kicked out of their homes".

"I’m calling for emergency legislation to scrap section 21 evictions, and call on ministers to ensure “no more dither and delay” in securing protection for renters," he said.

"Only Labour will put an end to the Tories' housing emergency with our plan to deliver the safe, secure and affordable homes people desperately need."

Comedian and activist Eddie Izzard, who is running to be Labour's candidate in Brighton Pavilion, also hit out at the decision and said: "This is further proof that Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives are out of touch with the lives and the challenges that people in Brighton and the UK are facing every day.

"There is no excuse for this postponement. It will cause further uncertainty and difficulty for renters who should be being supported throughout this cost of living crisis."


Councillor Gill Williams, deputy leader of Brighton and Hove City Council and lead on housing, described the move as “incomprehensible” and accused the government of bowing to pressure from the “landlord lobby”.

She said: “This will have a devastating impact on thousands of people, who will be threatened with homelessness waiting for this change in legislation.

“There are many decent private sector landlords in the city, but we often hear from residents about their poor experiences and know the quality of management and maintenance is inconsistent.

“We urgently need stronger national legislation to ensure tenants are protected and not fearful for their housing security.

“I urge the government to end section 21 evictions permanently, through the Renters Reform Bill currently going through parliament as promised.”

Ban 'kicked into long grass'

Community union Acorn, which offers support to renters in the city, accused the government of kicking the ban “into the long grass” and said: “England’s 11 million renters have been waiting for four and a half years for these desperately needed changes, all the while still being unfairly kicked out of their homes, forced to live with bad conditions and suffering unaffordable rent hikes.

“If properly enforced, a ban on no-fault evictions will have a real positive impact on the lives of many renters.

“Word from the government that they will not proceed with ending section 21 evictions until an unspecified time in the future yet again shows that the government is kicking this desperately needed change further into the long grass, and is more interested in the convenience of landlords than the security, stability and wellbeing of renters.

159 households face eviction before election, Labour claim

Labour claims that as many as 159 households in Brighton and Hove face potential homelessness between now and the general election due to the delay in implementing the ban.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “The government has betrayed renters with this grubby deal with the Tory backbenches. The Conservatives’ long-promised ban on no-fault evictions has majority and cross-party support across the House, but this flip-flop kicks it into the long grass.

“More and more families in Brighton and Hove, who the government promised to protect, now face the prospect of being threatened with homelessness or kicked out of their homes by bailiffs.”

Addressing MPs in the House of Commons, housing secretary Michael Gove said that the bill will lead to the abolition of section 21 “in a way that I believe is right and proportionate”.