Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill

4th January 2019

UPDATE JANUARY 2019:

Following agreement by both Houses on the text of the Bill, it received Royal Assent on 20 December 2018. The Bill is now an Act of Parliament. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will publish guidance for local authorities, landlords and tenants in the new year, before the Act comes into force on 20 March 2019. Bill can be seen here.

 

A bill 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; and for connected purposes, was brought from the Commons to The House of Lords on 29th October 2018.

It was read a first time and ordered to be printed.  The 2nd reading is scheduled to take place on 23th November 2018.

 

House of Commons Third Reading transposed here: http://bit.ly/2RgItCO

MP Ms Karen Buck (Westminster North) (Lab) opened the third reading thus:

“I am very grateful for the cross-party support for this Bill. I will take a few minutes to explain why the Bill is important and should continue its passage through the House.

Living in a cold, damp or unsafe home is hell. It damages people’s physical and mental wellbeing, erodes the income of the poorest households and impacts on children’s education. The most vulnerable tenants are those most at risk of being trapped in substandard accommodation, and they are often the least able to withstand the damage such conditions do, or to fight their corner unaided.

The emails that flow in from constituents—and, indeed, many others, including the hundreds of people who took part in the parliamentary digital involvement exercise before the Second Reading debate—about bad housing conditions make truly heart-rending reading. I am sure that everyone in this House will have received similar representations.”

A statement from the Ministry of Housing said that under current rules, councils are required to ensure rental properties in their area meet important safety standards using the “Housing Health and Safety Rating System” and are able to force landlords to take action where tenants are languishing in unsafe accommodation.  However, this has not been updated in more than 12 years, so a new review will also look at whether to introduce minimum standards for common health and safety problems in rental accommodation to keep renters safe.

Landlords backed the review.

David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, said:

“This review provides an important opportunity to improve enforcement against the minority of landlords who bring the sector into disrepute and fail to provide the safe accommodation they should.”

You can follow the onward progress of the Bill through the House of Lords here:

https://services.parliament.uk/Bills/2017-19/homesfitnessforhumanhabitation.html

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