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MPs to debate tenants' powers to sue over property conditions

MPs in the House of Commons will today debate the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill, promoted by a Labour backbencher but with government support. 

The Bill seeks to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, and if it becomes law it will ensure that all private and social sector landlords must ensure that their property is fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout.

More controversially, 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.


The Bill will initially apply only to new or renewed fixed term tenancies after it is implemented; 12 months after it becomes law - probably late 2019 - it will be extended to apply to periodic tenancies.

Trade bodies have been broadly supportive of the measure, put forward as a Private Member’s Bill by Karen Buck MP and reaching its Report Stage in the Commons today.

The Residential Landlords Association says it is supportive because the Bill makes it clear that if the property becomes unfit for human habitation thanks to the action of the tenant, then the landlord is not liable.

The RLA also says that with council cutbacks reducing the effective policing of standards in the private rental sector, tenants can take legal action ”and help force the worst elements out of our sector.” 

Meanwhile ARLA 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.”

  • James B

    Shame it’s not a vote winner to help landlords sue tenants

  • Paul Singleton

    Yawn, another day another rule!

  • SCN Lettings

    Look out for the annual " This house is full of damp" around this time of year when tenants fail to heat and ventilate properties and blame the landlord.

  • icon

    Condensation and damp are two different problems.

    A survey with the right equipment can clarify the problem. Try setting out a costing schedule that the tenant will pay in the case of the problems being caused by negligence by the tenant with a cost to the landlord if it is a found to be the landlords fault.

    Condensation = lack of ventilation and heating.
    Damp = water penetration from below, above or from the side.


  • S l
    • S l
    • 26 October 2018 12:58 PM

    everytime there is damp and mould issues due to condensation and lack of ventilation despite having windows that can be lock with an opening to allow ventilation when not in the room and also automatic extractor fan in the bathroom with windows opening, my deposit adjudicator would still claim its landlords fault or normal wear and tear despite proof of inventory and negligence by tenants. thier lack of knowledge cost landlords thousands just because they are on the tenant side. no wonder uk ins in debts. they are suppressing the ability to earn. just because their salary are safe from such usage of powers on their side.

  • S l
    • S l
    • 26 October 2018 12:59 PM

    what about the right to sue the policy makers for making a mess and rule against contracts?


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