Tenants to sue over property conditions
On Sunday, the Government revealed its support in changing legislation so that tenants can take legal action against their landlord if the property conditions are poor.
The new legislation will be enforced by local authorities when tenants approach them with grievances against their agents or landlords which are for both private and social housing sectors.
The announcement was made by Housing Secretary Sajid Javid, who says the government wants to make property conditions safe and give more rights to tenants,
“Everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live. Councils already have wide-ranging powers to crack down on the minority of landlords who rent out unsafe and substandard property conditions.”
“However, public safety is paramount and I am determined to do everything possible to protect tenants. That is why the government will support new legislation that requires all landlords to ensure properties are safe and give tenants the right to take legal action if landlords fail in their duties.”
This follows the proposed Homes Fit for Human Habitation bill proposed by Labour MP Karen Buck in 2015. The bill was never put to a vote and was later re-introduced as an amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill which was voted against in parliament 2016.
On Sunday, we learnt that the Housing Department is helping Karen Buck to draft a Private Members’ Homes Fitness for Human Habitation & Liability of Housing Standards bill. The bill would allow tenants to take legal action against their landlord for not fulfilling their “fitness for human habitation” duties from the beginning or duration of the tenancy. If any landlord fails to comply then then the tenant(s) will be within their legal right to take them to court for breach of contract, as the property is unsafe for anyone to live in. This will cover both private and social renting tenants.
This news follows on from the recently introduced powers given to authorities to stamp out ‘rogue’ practices and any landlords found to be renting out unfit properties can face fines of up to £30,000. From this April, councils will also be able to issue banning orders against rogue landlords from being able to operate within the private rented sector.
Richard Merrick, Director of PIMS says: “One has to ask if this is overkill. We already have the legislation framework for tenants to sue, so the legislation already exists.”