MP launching new bid to make rental accommodation ‘fit for human habitation’

Labour MP Karen Buck is planning to reintroduce her Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill in Parliament today.

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, the move had been expected.

Buck, who represents Westminster North, originally introduced a Private Member’s Bill in 2015/2016 seeking 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.

Her Bill was talked out.

Labour then sought to reintroduce her proposals in the Housing and Planning Bill 2015/2016, but 312 MPs – almost entirely Conservatives – voted against, while 219 voted in favour.

The amendment would have placed a duty on landlords to ensure their homes were safe for human habitation when let, and kept so during the course of the tenancy.

However, David Cameron’s government said at the time that the requirement would place extra regulation and costs on landlords, and would push up rents. It said that local councils already had powers to deal with poor and unsafe accommodation, which it expected them to use.

David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, said he welcomed the reintroduction of Buck’s Bill.

He said: “Tenants have a right to expect that homes are fit for habitation, and the vast majority of good landlords already provide this. This Bill therefore reinforces what landlords should already be doing.

“By providing a route to direct tenant enforcement of basic housing standards, the Bill will give a further opportunity to deal with the minority of landlords who have no place in the market.

“Current legislation often lets these criminals off the hook due to underfunded councils being unable to properly enforce it.

“We look forward to working with Ms Buck as the Bill is developed and considered in Parliament.”

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3 Comments

  1. Will

    “Current legislation often lets these criminals off the hook due to underfunded councils being unable to properly enforce it.”  So how would further unnecessary legislation suddenly enforce the laws that are currently in place. More people with loud voices spouting out more none-sense.

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  2. jeremy1960

    More than enough current legislation that local authorities could use but usual excuse is “no funding”. What ****, if they prosecute correctly all cases would be self funding, it’s just too much for anyone from a local council to consider any hard work and research! Same with prosecuting agents for non-display of fees; our tso legislates from behind a desk 25 miles away by sending letters, not 1 single prosecution despite at least 6 or 7 firm leads from me! Gov need to start penalising local authorities for ignoring very easy to use legislation and prosecution!

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  3. YvonneB

    Enough legislation already.

    The problem is Grenfell Tower and lots of the other unsafe buildings are owned by the council.

    As one Housing Standards officer said to me – the council can’t take the council to court – so they have free rein to let tenants live in sub-standard buildings and there is no one who can do anything about it. Housing Standards gives a list of necessary repairs/safety issues – council ignores it!

    What we need is independent inspectors (not council) who are funded by the government to investigate, inspect, prosecute and ban ALL landlords who refuse to carry out their basic duties as a landlord. That includes Housing Associations, local councils and the private sector. The landlord then has to use a letting agent to rent again or face further prosecution.

    Most sub standard accommodation is found at the lower end of the market, Housing benefit/UC tenants who have little choice to shop around. Each HB/UC claim should be followed up during the first month by the independent inspector checking the condition of the property. HB/UC is not put in payment until inspection passed, as reward for a 4 or 5 star rating, the HB/UC is paid direct to landlord. 1 to 3 stars, rent cut, tenants paid direct and ideas for improvements given. 0 star – can’t rent it – no HB/UC paid – or rent rate cut by 50%.

    The only way to stop sub standard accommodation is to hit landlords in their pocket and take the duty off the tenant. Tenants are scared to get involved as they are frightened of losing their accommodation. If the landlords knows he will be inspected, he will have to put it right before he lets.

     

     

     

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