Tenants may soon be able to sue for properties not meeting basic standards

by Property 118

11:57 AM, 29th October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Tenants may soon be able to sue for properties not meeting basic standards

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Tenants may soon be able to sue for properties not meeting basic standards

Along with powers given to local authorities to fine landlords up to £30,000 for properties in poor condition along with other regulatory offences tenants may soon be able to sue landlords directly for properties that do not meet basic standards

Labour MP Karen Buck’s Private Members Bill, the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill, has now been passed by the Commons goes to the House of Lords for debate and with government support is highly likely to become law next year.

Click here to review the Bill and its progress. “To amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to require that residential rented accommodation is provided and maintained in a state of fitness for human habitation; to amend the Building Act 1984 to make provision about the liability for works on residential accommodation that do not comply with Building Regulations; and for connected purposes.”

Karen Buck, Labour MP for Westminster North, said in the Commons: “Living in a cold, damp, or unsafe home is hell. It damages people’s physical and mental well-being.”

“It erodes the income of the poorest households. It impacts on children’s education. The most vulnerable tenants are those most at risk of being trapped in sub-standard accommodation and they are often least able to withstand the damage such conditions do.”

The RLA have supported this Bill for the following reasons:

“It doesn’t introduce any new obligations, as the standard is already in place via the HHSRS system

It will extend to all housing tenures. This means that councils, housing associations, private landlords and build-to-rent will be on an equal footing.

Will give council tenants a route to enforcement that is currently unavailable. Councils cannot take enforcement action against themselves, and are often reluctant to act against social housing. If the Bill is passed social housing tenants will be able to access direct enforcement of housing standards.

Provides an alternative route to enforcement Local authorities have cut back in areas like environmental health spending in recent years, leaving little capacity to prosecute criminal landlords. Now tenants, with suitable backing and proper evidence, will be able to take direct action to raise standards and help force the worst elements out of our sector.”



Comments

Gary Dully

9:08 AM, 30th October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

So if I understand this correctly, this will now offer the potential of giving an army of lawyers, the unique opportunity, to turn on the PRS and tie most landlords up in knots of litigation.

It all sounds so noble, but I have found that when you have to defend yourself against a spurious claim, the tenants solicitor not only attacks the reported fault, but also goes for uncompleted or omitted administrative bits of paperwork also.

Most so called accidental landlords won’t stand a chance.

For example: a tenant falls off his bed changing a lightbulb.
He didn’t use the step ladders, left at the property.

You will need the following.
1. Risk assessment for the step ladder he did or didn’t use.
2. An inspection of the step ladders each year to be certified.
3. A training book signature showing that the tenant has received relevant training in both using a step ladder and changing a lightbulb.
4. Planning permission for appropriate use of the property for rental purposes.
5. A gas safety certificate covering the period of the accident, plus the previous years.
6. A legionaries risk assessment
7. Training for changing a lightbulb and it’s recycling.
8. A certified inventory of the light bulb originally working.

You will then be given the opportunity to put right the works within a suitable period, a list of the medical professionals that your tenant intends to use to substantiate their claim and their approximate costs for reports or to “Settle” out of court.

Now you may think that this is where it ends, but it then moves on to the commission of your own solicitor to defend your case.

In the meantime your tenant is now off work with his bad neck and permanent scarring of his head that hit the wall as he fell.

This will easily be in about the £3500 mark, followed by his doctors bills of £1800, plus his solicitor charge of £3500, plus compensation of about £3000, plus money for potential future claims of epilepsy caused by trauma of the fall.

Now then Mr & Mrs amateur landlord, how are you feeling about your industry now or more importantly about this private members bill.

The only landlords able to comply and match the system will be big corporates and landlords with decent liability insurances.

What about you?

terry sullivan

14:50 PM, 30th October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

RLA=clueless

Chris Daniel

23:51 PM, 30th October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Can see it now ! - Tenant is behind on rent, or, is being evicted via Sec 21 ( whilst it still exists ) for a variety of reasons.
Out comes a counter claim for a crack in the skirting board or some other myopic trivia.
Lets be fair, the CFA brigade have nearly milked the PPI cow dry, are already starting on Deposits and this will be another bonus.

Anthony Endsor

19:56 PM, 31st October 2018
About 2 weeks ago

All previous measures taken against landlords have been the equivalent to running us over with a steamroller. All this will do will follow that up by reversing the steamroller back over us to make sure we are dead.

H B

7:57 AM, 1st November 2018
About 2 weeks ago

If tenants don't like the property, surely they are free to move elsewhere at the end of the tenancy.
Legal action will only cost tenants money they don't have for cases they can't win.

Gromit

7:27 AM, 3rd November 2018
About 2 weeks ago

More concerning will be no win/no fee brigade who will invade this space.
Tenant will have nothing to lose by engaging them.

Clint

12:36 PM, 3rd November 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Tenants on benefits who get free legal aid will be the best as they would get away with ridiculous claims where their solicitors and barristers get paid if they win or lose.

If they lose our tax payer money will pay them if they win, the poor landlord would have to pay them. I think Gary's estimate of solicitors fees is being very generously low. Having been involved in landlord/tenant litigation cases, I would say the legal fees would certainly be upwards of £10,000 if the landlord does not give up at an early stage

Mandy Thomson

14:47 PM, 3rd November 2018
About 2 weeks ago

I don't think this should be for private tenants as they already have the recourse of raising a complaint with environmental health, and as everyone above has said, is potentially allowing rogue tenants a licence to make vexatious claims via "ambulance chasing" solicitors.

However, for social tenants this is a really good thing, as they currently have no voice, as they can't easily complain to their council about its own failings.

Had the residents of Grenfell had such an option, lives might well have been saved. Instead their complaints about fire safety in the building simply fell on deaf ears.

Mark W

21:12 PM, 3rd November 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Complete over-reaction by some posters here. Requirements of these laws are not difficult for any landlord who rents decent properties. A level playing field is being created as local authorities, housing associations will have to comply with the basic standards that the majority of private landlords offer. If any landlord doesn't want to provide the basics please sell up and leave the sector. I am irritated by landlords who bring the majority of us into disrepute.

Mark W

21:13 PM, 3rd November 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Complete over-reaction by some posters here. Requirements of these laws are not difficult for any landlord who rents decent properties. A level playing field is being created as local authorities and housing associations will have to comply with the basic standards that the majority of private landlords offer. If any landlord doesn't want to provide the basics please sell up and leave the sector. I am irritated by landlords who bring the majority of us into disrepute.

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