Valerie backs legislation to protect renters from home unfit for human habitation

This Bill could help renters in 150,000 dangerously unfit properties in the West Midlands. It is concerning that 17% of all stock of rental homes in the West Midlands are considered unfit for human habitation. This figure rises to 26% when only looking at the private rented properties.

Nationally, there are over one million rented properties containing the most serious ‘category 1’ hazards – these pose a serious threat to the health or safety of people living in or visiting the property. This including homes that have unsafe electrics, vermin infestations, or are not fire safe.

This Bill provides for an implied provision in a lease that a landlord must ensure that their property is fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and for the duration of the tenancy. Where a landlord fails to do so, the tenant has the right to take action in the courts for breach of contract on the grounds that the property is unfit for human habitation.

Our homes are at the centre of our lives but at the moment renters too often don’t have the basic rights that we take for granted in other areas.

Families renting may have fewer rights than they do when buying a fridge-freezer, and decisions made by the Government have made it easier for bad landlords to let unfit homes. As a result, too many people are forced to put up with downright dangerous housing.

I am pleased the Government will now support this Bill that will help drive up standards in the private and social rented sectors by putting an obligation on landlords to keep their property in good condition and giving tenants the right to take legal action where their landlord fails to do so.

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill is available here:

The House of Commons voted for this Bill to be sent to a Public Bill Committee which will scrutinise the Bill line by line. The first sitting of the committee will be on a date to be announced.