Tenants are on the verge of being handed fresh powers to take action against rogue landlords thanks to the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill, which will complete its passage through Parliament tomorrow.
The Private Members’ Bill, which will give both private and social tenants in England the power to take their landlords to court if their home is unsafe, will have its third and final reading in the House of Lords on Wednesday.
The proposed legislation will require all leases to have an implied covenant stating that landlords must ensure their properties are inhabitable at the start of the tenancy and throughout occupation. Tenants would be able to seek legal redress through the courts, without having to first go through their councils, if landlords fail to do this.
Under the proposed legislation, negligent landlords would be required to remove hazards or pay compensation to tenants.
The Bill, tabled by Karen Buck MP, will head back to the House of Commons early next year for MPs to consider any amendments added by Peers, before it gets Royal Assent.
According to the MP, about 750,000 homes in the private rented sector and 250,000 in the social rented sector have category one hazards.
The MP for Westminster North previously said: “Living in a cold, damp, or unsafe home is hell. It damages people's physical and mental well-being.
“It erodes the income of the poorest households. It impacts on children's education.
“The most vulnerable tenants are those most at risk of being trapped in sub-standard accommodation and they are often least able to withstand the damage such conditions do.”