Bill allowing tenants to sue over poor housing becomes law in just one day

Tenants have been given a new right to sue landlords over poor housing after The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill gained Royal Assent just a day after it passed its third reading in the House of Lords.

The Act amends the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to require that residential rented accommodation is provided and maintained in a state of fitness for human habitation.

The law started as a Private Members’ Bill from Labour MP Karen Buck in January, her third such attempt, introduced in the wake of the Grenfell fire disaster in June 2017.

It was first debated by MPs in the House of Commons in July 2017 before reaching the House of Lords in October this year and gaining Royal Assent yesterday.

Giles Peaker, a solicitor and partner in the housing and public law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors, said the Act allows for the rules to be introduced three months after receiving Royal Assent, which would be March 20, 2019.

He said: “Many congratulations to the remarkable Karen Buck MP for the extraordinary feat of getting an opposition MP’s Private Members’ Bill into law.”

David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, said: “We’re pleased the Bill has now received Royal Assent after a swift passage through Parliament.

“These new rules will give renters greater protection against criminal operators and is a step in the right direction for the market.

“We congratulate Karen Buck on her work and we look forward to continuing to work with her to achieve better enforcement against those who bring the sector into disrepute.”


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  1. The_Maluka

    Now is the time for landlords to retrain as ‘no win no fee’ lawyers.

    “Do you have a dripping tap which was not your fault, contact ‘Lawyers for Tenants’ and you could get up to £30,000 compensation”

    1. kittygirl06

      I share your concerns when tenants are short of cash they will invent all sorts of problems along with all the No win No fee solicitors.


      Its about time tenants were held to account for the thousands of pounds worth of damage they do.  I have had to tenants use new triple glazed UPVC windows as ashtrays.  One 200 fag burns.   I have been chasing this tenant for a year but she changes jobs does not answer the door etc.

      I call for HMRC who has all the NI numbers when there is a court order for damage to locate tenant and deduct from source.

      Another tenant anti social behaviour nightmare evicted even on day of bailiff was in court trying to stop it.   He got a job bus driving after a year I have managed anattachment of earnings.  But he is allowed to keep the first 350 pounds nett.  So if I am lucky I might get 20 per week.

      I am sick to death of hearing about poor tenants when in truth many expect to live rent free and damage properties into the thousands.

      Landlords need protection from this .


      1. Anonymous Coward

        It would appear that both the current and potentially future government(s) believes that the right approach to take is:

        “Well then, don’t be a landlord then!”

        What a sorry state of affairs.

        1. Bless You

          Amazing that all these populist actions that apply to about 0.1% of tenents werent made law years ago…

  2. Woodentop

    If you have a property that is maintained and well documented … what is the problem? Agents who are happy to take on their books sub-standard properties or not manage the property …. days are numbered. If the tenant causes damage etc, you will not be liable. Landlords need to step up the plate and not leave their agents to fire fight on their behalf, while they rake in the rent and ignore their responsibilities. This piece of legislation could just be an agents best ally and help you to upgrade faults that landlords traditionally ignore.
    The Act is principally based on infringements of Health & Safety and Building Regulations.
    It is a disgrace that tenants are not as equally held to account.
    Comments about “No Win, No Fee” lawyers is a concern and is going to cause much headache for those agents who provide an excellent mamangement to be accused by rougue tenants. You will have to be more street wise with your management.

    1. CountryLass

      As long as it can be documented that the Agent/Landlord is trying to sort the issue and therefore cannot be sued then that should be ok. I had one property where we just could not find out why the basement kept flooding when it rained. We had the drains checked, the ‘coal-hole’ window seals checked, the interior brickwork repointed and sealed, yet the next time it rained, in came the water. The council even came and pumped gallons of coloured water into the drains around the property to help us figure out if it was one of those. In over 2 years, we never managed to find the issue. We looked at basically getting the inside of the cellar plastic boarded, but we were told all that would do it keep the water round the foundations for longer and cause more serious issues…

  3. wilberforce80

    It is now absolutely imperative to photo the flat and the tenant on the day of moving in, or else landlords will have what I had last year where a tenant wrecked the flat and got Shelter to help her sue me (unsuccessfully by luck) for damages. I ended up with 10k of damages, 10k of legal work, and a long time with no rent and no sleep. Had she won I would have had no house. It is time to retire. This will hardly affect criminal landlords because they are too hard to get into court, it will only catch the good landlords with criminal tenants.

    1. kittygirl06


      I know someone who is going throu something similar, would you be willing to contact her as you might be able to help her?


    2. frostieclaret87

      ****** Shelter. They tried to do the same to me. Took a tenants word as gospel and then tried to claim £5k for distress etc. I wrote back threatening to counter sue for damages when the tenant asked me to lie on a reference denying they had rent arrears – which I obviously didn’t.

      How Shelter can claim to be a homeless charity when this type of bullying by their own lawyers is going on? This, by the way, was six months after they got another property and were never homeless!

  4. DarrelKwong43

    More importance on the initial check and subsequent property visits.

    Interestingly this will also include common areas of blocks where the landlord has an interest, so the importance of evidence any dealings with the superior landlord will be enhanced.


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