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Tenants Given More Powers in the Fight Against Rogue Landlords

Everlast boxing gloves

The Homes Bill has been unanimously approved by parliament, much to everyone’s delight. Also known as the Fitness for Human Habitation Bill, this important piece of legislation gives tenants the power to take their landlord to court if they don’t provide safe accommodation…

This is a private members’ bill, which was proposed by Labour MP for Westminster North, Karen Buck. She had been moved to push the bill through parliament by the desperate plight of some of her constituents, many of whom who were forced to live in atrocious conditions. She said the new bill would help make the worst landlords accountable under the law.

Desperate Conditions

“Many landlords take their responsibilities seriously but still a million households across the private and social sectors are forced to endure conditions which harm them or pose a serious risk of harm,” Karen Buck said.

The bill lets tenants take action if they have problems and their landlord fails to fix faults that make the property unfit for human habitation, such as no heating, faulty wiring, or a lack of adequate hygiene facilities. Tenants can also seek compensation through the courts.

In the case of apartment blocks and HMOs, the bill includes a so-called Grenfell clause, which covers common areas.

Eradicating Rogue Landlords

Until now, people living in unsuitable housing in the private rental sector have had no legal avenue to force their landlords to put things right or pay them compensation. With poor housing responsible for many health problems, mental and physical, this bill is an important step in the eradication of rogue landlords.

Some landlords have complained that the new bill makes it harder for them to make a profit, but the shadow housing minister is sceptical. He says that such landlords needed to quit the sector if they genuinely can’t afford to maintain their properties without losing money.

Informing Tenants of Their Rights

The government’s housing minister, Heather Wheeler, says the next step is to make sure tenants have enough information about their rights and what to do if their landlord isn’t fixing serious problems. The bill will improve standards, but tenants need to be educated on their rights.

“The Government strongly supports this bill and it is clear that there is support across the House as well,” says Heather Wheeler.

The Home Bills is set for a third reading this week before being passed to the House of Lords.

Want to know what else is happening on the landlord legislation front? Find out here:

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