9:06 AM, 18th January 2018, About 4 years ago 6
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has thrown its support behind the Private Members Bill brought to Parliament by Labour MP Karen Buck.
The Bill includes giving tenants the right to take legal action over the habitation standards of private rental property. Please Click Here to see full details of the Bill drawn up so far.
The RLA view is that all home should be fit for habitation and that the Bill does not introduce any new standards over and above the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and that if the issues are caused by tenants then the landlord will not be liable.
It also ensures parity for private landlords with council and social housing with the RLA writing: “It gives 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. “
There is also an element of protection against malicious reporting by tenants. The tenant must report issues to the landlord first and allow inspection of the property with an opportunity to affect repairs. Tenants cannot just go straight to the courts and instigate legal proceeding before notifying the landlord.
Overall the RLA believes that: “Unless a council takes action, there is very little recourse for tenants, even when backed by organisations Shelter or Citizens Advice.
Such criminals rely on avoiding prosecution in order to continue exploiting tenants.
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.
The National Landlords Association also supports the bill with chief executive Richard Lambert saying: “Too often, tenants living in sub-standard properties are let down by local authorities being unwilling to make effective use of their extensive enforcement powers. This Bill will help ensure that the vast majority of good landlords, who are already keeping their properties up to the standards expected, are not under-cut by less reputable landlords who deliberately shirk their responsibilities.
“As the Bill progresses through Parliament the NLA will seek to ensure that proper protections remain in place so that landlords are not faced with vexatious claims, nor face punishment for conditions that result from the tenant’s actions.”
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