March 13

Gove’s Section 21: Short Lets Policies Face Tory Criticism


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A Tory has strongly voiced opposition to the proposed clampdown on short lets by Housing Secretary Michael Gove, condemning them as wretched restrictions.” Charles Amos, a Political Theory graduate from the University of Oxford and the author behind The Musing Individualist blog, articulates a compelling case against Gove’s proposals in a recent article on the Conservative Home website.

In his critique, Amos delves into the philosophical implications, providing a libertarian perspective on Gove’s measures. He argues that such restrictions interfere with individual freedoms and property rights, suggesting a need for a more balanced approach that considers the rights and choices of property owners and tenants alike. The article encourages a thoughtful examination of the proposed regulations and their potential impact on the principles of personal liberty and property ownership.

Amos argues that the chief justification for the proposed changes in housing policies is rooted in the intention to make homes more affordable for local residents. However, he challenges this perspective, asserting that individuals don’t inherently possess the right to reside in their hometown, especially at an affordable cost. According to Amos, the notion that locals have a moral entitlement “to live in the place they call home” must be critically examined and discarded, along with the justification for imposing planning restrictions on short-term lets.

Expanding on his viewpoint, Amos contends that the moral ideal of guaranteeing locals the right to live in their preferred area contradicts the principles of a free and open housing market. He suggests that adhering to such an ideal could impede the natural flow of market forces that drive housing availability and affordability. In essence, he questions whether the desire to maintain a static local population at affordable prices is a realistic and sustainable approach in the dynamic context of the property market.

Taking a more comprehensive stance, Amos delves into the dynamics between local residents and tourists, highlighting that the simultaneous interest of both groups in living in a particular area naturally leads to an increase in house prices. According to his analysis, this upward trend in prices serves as a financial incentive for builders to invest in housing developments in that location, ultimately expanding the housing supply. In this way, Amos suggests that the market forces of supply and demand can address the housing needs of both locals and tourists without the need for excessive regulatory interventions.

By limiting the surge in demand through stricter planning permissions and curtailing certain short-term lets, Amos argues that the anticipated profits, which typically drive an expansion in housing supply, are hindered. According to his perspective, these measures could disrupt the natural market forces that incentivize builders to invest in housing developments, potentially leading to a stagnation in the growth of available housing.

Furthermore, Amos ventures into controversial territory by asserting that a proposed ban on Section 21 evictions could be interpreted as effectively legalizing property theft by a tenant. This provocative viewpoint challenges the perceived impact of the proposed eviction ban, suggesting that it may unintentionally shift the balance of property rights in favor of tenants and potentially create complications in landlord-tenant relationships. Amos’ critique raises questions about the potential unintended consequences of regulatory interventions in the housing market.

Arguing this he says: “Tenants occupying a landlord’s house when he wishes to retake possession of it when a fixed term lease comes to an end are committing theft just as much, and, even if the state legalises this, it remains wrong.”

He concludes: “A liberal society that respects private property must oppose these wretched restrictions with the utmost force. Only then will it truly respect the sanctity of each owner himself.”

You can read the full piece here:



Conservative Home, Gove's Section 21: Short Lets Policies Face Tory Criticism, Michael Gove MP, Wretched Restrictions

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