Speaking on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Gove said: “Yes, we have a bill. It has gone through its stages in the House of Commons and that bill does a number of things to help people in the private rented sector including banning no-fault evictions.”
The Conservatives promised in 2019 that they would ban Section 21 evictions, otherwise known as no-fault evictions.
He explained: “It is the case that there were a small minority of unscrupulous landlords. We use the threat of eviction either to jack up rents or to silence people who are complaining about the quality of their homes.
“It’s important that we deal with that abuse because the vast majority of landlords do a great job and you need a healthy private rented sector as part of a balanced housing economy.”
When pushed he reaffirmed his statement, saying that “we will have outlawed it [Section 21 evictions] and we will put the money into the courts in order to ensure that they can enforce it”.
The bill is currently at the report stage in the House of Commons.
Pressure on housing market ‘significant’
Gove said that the government was taking action to increase the supply of homes overall, noting that there had been 2.5m homes built since 2010 and the last five years had seen the most homes built in 30 years.
He said that there were a “variety of factors” impacting the current housing market, pointing to particular pressure in cities due to “overseas investment” and “population growth”, pipeline of new homes and access to mortgage finance.
“In the wake of the 2008 financial crash, for entirely understandable reasons, the rules were tightened up on lending overall and that has had an impact on people’s capacity to buy,” Gove explained.
Gove said the “pressures” were “significant” but the government was ““absolutely determined to do everything we can”, continuing that it was “vitally important that we stick to our economic plan which will ensure not just that the tax burden is lowered, but also that we continue to provide support for those most in need”.
Gove continued that it was “taking action” on temporary accommodation, having brought out a Local Authority Housing Fund, which is money central government gives to councils to acquire new properties.
He continued that this week it would be extending loans to housing associations to ensure that there can be at least another 20,000 social homes, which Gove noted was on top of £11.5bn allocated in the affordable homes programme.
‘Category error’ to blame slew of housing ministers on policy stalemate
When asked whether the fact that there had been 16 housing ministers in the past few years had had an impact on housing policy Gove said that comment was an “error”.
“Actually, if you look at the way in which policy has been delivered, we are on the verge of announcing a million additional homes having been built since 2019,” he said.
Gove continued: “We’ve managed to deliver more homes than our predecessors, but we’re not patting ourselves on the back. It’s important to point that out. What we’re seeing is that we do need to go further, so it’s an honest admission of the scale of the problem, but also an honest acknowledgement that we have managed to increase the number of homes but we need to do more.”
He also pointed to Labour shooting down legislation last year that would have “unlocked 100,000 new social homes, homes to rent and homes to buy”.
“If we’re looking for culpability and blame, one of the questions we have to ask is why when we could have had 100,000 additional homes, did Labour vote to stop that? And that’s because we have a plan to deal with this very important question and Labour has no plan at all.”
Gove said that he was talking to the Chancellor constantly about the importance of housing, and that he understood the importance of the housing sector.
He said: “I’m doing everything I can short of laying siege to his own home. Every day, I send him a note or a message emphasizing the importance of doing more to unlock housing supply and he gets it.
“Jeremy Hunt is someone who absolutely understands the importance of supporting the next generation and the critical thing here is all the progress that we need to make would be put at risk if we had a labour party that has no plan for economic growth.”