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Torys under attack for “fit for habitation” comments

A Conservative MP has been widely criticised in the press for saying the proposed law for landlords saying they need to make homes “fit for human habitation” is not needed.

Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, spoke out after Labour MP Karen Buck’s Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill proposal was presented to Parliament on Friday.

If passed, the bill would resurrect a law from 1885 which has been rendered obsolete by nearly 60 years of rent inflation.


Tenants already have the right to a home that is fit for human habitation, but only if the rent is less than £52 per annum (or £80 in London) – limits last revised in 1957.

Buck told MPs the current law requires landlords to fix things that have fallen into disrepair but they’re under no legal obligation to remedy problems such as condensation or mould.

Davies, a landlord himself, said the new bill proposed by Buck would put “a huge burden on landlords”.

“My contention would be … I don’t think this particular bill is necessary to achieve what I would like to see,” he said at the debate. “[It’s] as if [landlords] have nothing else to do but wade through legislation generated by this House.

“The overwhelming majority of landlords, and I will put myself in this category, want to do the right thing and wouldn’t ever dream of renting out a property that isn’t in a fit state to be rented out and want to comply with every regulation that’s introduced.”

Davies was one of two MPs widely criticised for “filibustering” or talking out the revenge evictions bill presented to MPs in November last year.

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  • icon

    Here a joke..
    I have a house in Coventry. The windows are new, it has new front and back doors and the roof doesn't leak. I pay 150% rates because it classed as "fit for habitation".
    Here's the rest.. It has no gas supply, needs new water and gas supply, There is no kitchen, there are no bathrooms. The electrics are part through an update (so not legal) and there is no heating in the house (needs new boiler). Its been empty for 6 years.
    As the council deem it fit for habitaion I'm thinking of renting via them to some tenants.

  • icon

    Sorry forgot to mention.. its not a joke.. i really do have a house as above and DO pay 150% rates.. The reason its in such a state is the previous tenants sub-let it to multiple families at the same time and they destroyed it AND it was with an agent..

  • Bob Leydon MARLA

    There is so much legislation. If we need more, fine. If there are already effective legal remedies, it would be time saving for us all if those introducing new bills, first consulted on whether there is pre-existing legislation providing for the mischief their bills purports to remedy. Similarly, George Osborn ought to have consulted on the viability of reducing MIR before stealthily introducing it in the budget without discussion. Effective from 2017 there was no urgency denyiing time for debate.


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