The government has confirmed it will be supporting the Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards bill put forward by Karen Buck, Labour MP. The bill will receive a second reading this Friday, and if it is passed, tenants living in the private rental sector will soon have the power to sue landlords who let out properties with serious electrical problems, leaking roofs, damp, and other health and safety issues.
Sajid Javid Comments
Sajid Javid, the secretary for Housing, Communities and Local Government told the media: “Everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live. Councils already have wide-ranging powers to crack down on the minority of landlords who rent out unsafe and substandard accommodation. However, public safety is paramount and I am determined to do everything possible to protect tenants.”
The bill has come into being after the Grenfell Tower disaster, which has put the spotlight firmly on health and safety in rented housing. However, the Buck insists that this is not the primary reason why she has pushed the bill through parliament.
Extra Powers for Tenants
Councils already have the power to fine landlords up to £30k if they let out sub-standard accommodation, but this bill takes things further and hands over power to tenants.
Landlords Protected in Special Cases
The Residential Landlords Association is standing behind the bill. It says that landlords should be providing homes that are fit for human habitation. However, if tenants cause damage that makes a property fall below the required standard, landlords will be protected.