28 Feb 24

Watch Sir Jacob give his thoughts on the ‘socialist error’ Renters (Reform) Bill and this is followed by a panel discussion on the issues.

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, the former leader of the House of Commons, has launched a scathing attack on the housing secretary, Michael Gove, over his proposed Renters (Reform) Bill, which he called a ‘socialist error’.

The Bill aims to improve the security and standards of tenants in the private rented sector (PRS) and would abolish section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions.

During a monologue on GB News, Mr Rees-Mogg argues that the bill would undermine property rights, which he described as ‘one of the four great pillars’ of the Constitution, along with freedom of speech, the rule of law and democracy.

He claimed that the Bill would reduce the supply and increase the price of rental properties, as landlords would be deterred from entering or staying in the market.

He also says the Bill will harm the interests of both landlords and tenants, who often prefer fixed-term tenancies and benefit from the flexibility of Section 21 evictions.

‘They will be able to get their properties back’

Mr Rees-Mogg said: “It reassures landlords that they will be able to get their properties back, and this guarantee increases supply and lowers prices for tenants.

“As an aside, it can also be helpful for tenants.

“Sometimes there’s a difficult tenant who’s annoying the neighbours, and it’s easier to say, ‘I want you to leave under Section 21’ than to say, ‘I’m asking you to leave because you’re difficult’, which then stays on that tenant’s record, causing future problems later on.”

He added: “It removes a stigma that may attach not necessarily to bad tenants, but against ones who’ve had complaints against them. And in this way, everybody gains.”

Give councils more powers to regulate short-term lets

Mr Rees-Mogg also criticises Mr Gove’s plans to give councils more powers to regulate short-term lets, such as Airbnb, in popular tourist areas.

He said that this would infringe on the rights of property owners to let out their homes for a few weeks and damage the local economy by discouraging tourism.

Mr Rees-Mogg added: “Part of the plan includes a mandatory National Register intended to keep track of short-term lets.

“But what right does the Government have to do this?

“It’s your property, why shouldn’t you let it out for a few weeks? Any serious conservative government’s impulse would oppose the socialist move.”

Housing shortage is caused by the failure to build more houses

He added that the housing shortage is caused by the failure to build more houses, not by the lack of regulation and he urged the government to make it easier for people to let properties, rather than harder, to boost supply and bring prices down.

Mr Rees-Mogg points out: “These are arguments that I’d normally expect to hear from the Labour Party, not from a Conservative government.

“The Renters (Reform) Bill is a socialist error that will hurt renters, landlords and the economy. It should be scrapped.”

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