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Bill giving tenants right to sue is set to take a step forward today

Today sees the Second Reading in the House of the Lords for the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill, promoted by Labour backbencher Karen Buck with strong support from the government and industry.

The Bill seeks to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, and the Building Act 1984.

If it becomes law (as is highly likely, in the second half of 2019) it will ensure that all landlords in the social and private sectors must ensure that their property is fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout and, where this is not done, the tenant will have the right to take legal action in the courts for breach of contract on the grounds that the property is unfit for human habitation.

ARLA supports the measure and says: “It will give renters greater protection against criminal operators, is a step in the right direction for the market, and as Karen Buck MP said, we look forward to working with her to achieve better enforcement against those who bring the sector into disrepute.”

In addition the Residential Association of Landlords and National Association of Landlords both back the Bill.

Policy director at the RLA, David Smith, says: “Tenants have a right to expect that homes are fit for habitation, and the vast majority of good landlords already provide this. This Bill therefore reinforces what landlords should already be doing.”

The Bill extends to England and Wales but will only apply to tenancies in England. The Welsh Government has already included similar provisions in relation to housing fitness in the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016.

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