Campaigns Regulation and Enforcement

Fitness for Human Habitation Bill introduced to the House of Lords

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

The Homes (Fitness) For Human Habitation Bill was introduced in the House of Lords this week.

The Bill, tabled by Karen Buck, had its third reading in the House of Commons on Friday, and was passed without division.

During the third reading, Karen thanked the RLA for supporting the Bill.

The Bill is being sponsored in the Lords by Lord Best, and it will give tenants the power to take their landlord to court if their homes are deemed not fit for purpose at the start of, and throughout, their tenancy.

A date for its second reading in the House of Lords is to be confirmed.

How will the Bill be introduced?

Initially the Bill will only apply to new or renewed fixed term tenancies after it is implemented. It will

Karen Buck, MP

then apply to periodic tenancies 12 months after the bill comes into force, giving landlords time to ensure properties are up to standard. 

At our Future Renting conference earlier this year, Karen spoke more about the Bill, saying that she hopes the it will become law next year.

Why the RLA supports the Bill

Simply, the RLA supports this Bill for the following reasons:

  • It doesn’t introduce any new obligations, as the standard is already in place via the HHSRS system
  • It will extend to all housing tenures. This means that councils, housing associations, private landlords and build-to-rent will be on an equal footing.
  • Will give council tenants a route to enforcement that is currently unavailable.  Councils cannot take enforcement action against themselves, and are often reluctant to act against social housing.  If the Bill is passed social housing tenants will be able to access direct enforcement of housing standards. 
  • Provides an alternative route to enforcement Local authorities have cut back in areas like environmental health spending in recent years, leaving little capacity to prosecute criminal landlords.Now tenants, with suitable backing and proper evidence, will be able to take direct action to raise standards and help force the worst elements out of our sector. 

Interested in learning more? 

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.

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