BOTH Government and Opposition figures have welcomed the passing into law of a private members bill intended to improve standards of rented homes.
Under the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, which gained Royal Assent yesterday, landlords of both social and private rented properties are required to make sure that their properties meet certain standards at the beginning and throughout a tenancy.
The Act is regarded as a landmark legislation since it gives tenants new rights to take action against their landlord, if their property is unfit to live in because of problems like damp, mould, infestation of vermin or risk of fire.
The Bill was sponsored by Labour’s Karen Buck, MP for Westminster North.
“Three million people are forced to live in homes which are unsafe or unhealthy, riddled with damp or unbearably cold, and many have, until now, lacked the ability to take any action to deal with this,” she said.
“The passage of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill into law marks another step forward in the fight against the bad housing conditions that blight the lives of millions of tenants in both private and social housing.
John Healey MP, Labour’s shadow housing secretary, added: “Our homes are at the centre of our lives, but at the moment too many renters are forced to put up with unacceptable, unfit and downright dangerous housing. This welcome new legislation shows that Labour is winning the argument and making the running on the housing changes the country needs.”
The Government also welcomed the new legislation, also taking the opportunity to reiterate other measures it has taken to address issues in the rental sector, such as extending mandatory licensing for houses in multiple occupation; banning unfair lettings fees, and its national database of rogue landlords and lettings agents, among others.
“Everyone deserves a safe and decent place to live, regardless of whether you own your home or rent it,” said Heather Wheeler MP, minister for housing and homelessness.
“That’s why Government has introduced a range of measures to help ensure that people who are renting have good quality and well-maintained properties to call home.
“This new law is a further step to ensure that tenants have the decent homes they deserve.”