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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.”
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