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MPs vote against housing bill amendment

Conservative MPs have defeated a Labour amendment to the government’s housing and planning bill to require landlords to ensure their properties “are fit for human habitation”.

The amendment to the bill was defeated by 312 votes to 219 on Tuesday, a majority of 93.

Shadow housing minister Teresa Pearce proposed the amendment. She said: “The majority of landlords let property which is and remains in a decent standard. Many landlords go out of their way to ensure that even the slightest safety hazard is sorted quickly and efficiently.


“So it is even more distressing when we see reports of homes which are frankly unfit for human habitation being let, often at obscene prices.”

Pearce said that the condition of some rented accommodation – such as mouldy walls  – would not be tolerated in other sectors.

“Where else in modern day life could someone get away with this? It’s a consumer issue. If I purchased a mobile phone or a computer that didn’t work, didn’t do what it said it would or was unsafe I would take it back and get a refund,” she said.

Pearce said that in market where demand outstrips supply, renters lacked the consumer power to bargain for better conditions.

The result of the vote prompted outrage from tenants’ campaign groups on Twitter. 

Hackney Renters (@hackney_renters) Tweeted: “Jaw dropping: Even though 16% of rented homes unsafe Tories believe landlord propaganda about basic standards 'pushing up rent'” and said the vote was “Further evidence for just how much the current government is in cahoots with the private landlords”

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    Shadow housing minister Teresa Pearce should be made aware that the "mouldy walls" that she says are so common are generally mould caused by condensation. This is frequently the result of tenants not heating, or ventilating the property properly. Normally the only way that a landlord can address this is by changing the tenants for some new ones that will actually look after the property.


    How many of the properties in the "16% of homes rented unsafe" are uninhabitable due to condensation caused by tenant?

    We have had countless tenants calling us complaining of damp and mould only for a damp engineer to confirm the issue to be condensation caused by tenants. But yet again, it is always the landlords fault and never the tenants!!

    Of the 100's of landlords we let properties for, we have only had 3 which didn't sort problems as soon as possible. 1 we refuse to deal with anymore and have been reported to local authority by the tenants, the other 2 eventually had issues sorted after we advised tenants to make a complaint to the council.

    Most agents and landlords I have had dealings with ensure that a property is fit for human habitation and if a problem does arise after a tenant has moved in, is rectified as soon as possible.

    Unfortunately, it is only the bad landlords and agents that get press time and bring the industry into disrepute. Licencing in Croydon is meant to stop it, but I don't think it will as landlords will try to operate under the radar.

  • Jason McClean

    The Government in cahoots with Private Landlords. Don't you read the news? Heard about the tax grab? The Government is attacking landlords and tenants, it's not discriminating and doesn't care as long as it increases tax revenues.

    Jason McClean


    Tax grab along with the ever-increasing legislation Jason. Now we're even part of the immigration control system, though I don't see any training offered by Government and they haven't told me how much they're paying me yet.

    Hackney Renters clearly don't have a clue.

    Brit Sixteen Sixty Four

    Tax grab? No just a partial removal of tax relief which otherwise has given landlords an unfair advantage over first time buyers. The tax changes are welcomed by the majority of the population and should increase more supply as owners tend to sell and upgrade whilst landlords retain.

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    Further evidence for just how much the current government is in cahoots with the private landlords”
    Mmmm, I go with Jason above. This Guy from Hackney renters clearly doesn`t Have any grasp on the tax system or the Tory attack on private landlords. Quite frankly it`s getting like being the wrong side of the Normandy landings.
    After 21 years of providing good housing to sometimes bad people can`t Government find something else to beat the drum about. What state would housing be in if it wasn`t for the private sector? I think if demand is outstripping supply supporting the majority of good private landlords would be a far better policy.


    Completely agree with you Adrian. Landlords have not created the phenomenal demand, they're just part of the supply chain to the end user. If you look at the statistics they're amazing. The UK population in 2001 was 59.1 million. So thousands of years of evolution, natural population growth and of course some pretty bad wars had arrived at that figure. In 2015 the figure had risen to around 65 million. That's an incredible 10% growth and 85% of that is down to immigration. I am personally completely in favour of foreigners coming to work here but Government made no provision to house these people. Where are the massive building programmes of the post war period and the 1970s??? If they'd kept up that build rate there wouldn't be a housing crisis, and you know, it could be sorted out now very easily.

    There are enormous brownfield sites all over the UK that are redundant MOD properties. Build on them and get the finance from the PRS by offering tax free investment plans, eg 5% annual ROI. This would divert investors money into these new-builds. If modern construction methods or timber-frame systems were used the houses could be built incredibly cheaply. The properties could still be sold at a profit to FTBs but way below comparable market value and the money raised from that could be used to make the necessary improvement to local infrastructure. All this Government want to do though is tax, tax, tax and of course sell off State assets that we've owned for hundreds of years. All to settle the deficit! The powers that be have no real interest in solving the housing crisis.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Id love to see the 16% unsafe homes statistic quantified- after obver 15 years doing this job I dont think I could equate even 0.5% of the properties I have seen to this category. What is unfortunate is that I do support the move and the Conservatives should be ashamed (although this government is clearly shameless) but Tenant rights groups need to make sure what they state is accurate. When I read claims like this it just leads me to right the group off as I simply cant take them seriously.

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    Condensation is a serious problem ...there are some very simple remedies that cure these problems. Unfortunately in my 24 years LL experience , 97.77% of the time it is the direct fault of the tenant lifestyle that causes the problems by inadequate heating and venting, even after expert and professional advice they refuse to take simple and obvious measures. If this is the basis of the 16% then yet more decisions are being based on farcical data.


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