A Private Members’ Bill which will allow private rental sector tenants to sue over the conditions of their properties is just a few days away from completing its passage through Parliament.
The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill passed its committee stage in the House of Lords earlier this week and on Wednesday of next week, December 19, it goes to its Third Reading in the Lords.
This is regarded as a ‘tidying up’ stage before the Bill is sent back to the House of Commons for MPs to consider any amendments added by Peers; it will then get Royal Assent early next year.
The Bill seeks to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, and the Building Act 1984.
When it becomes law it will mean 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 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 Landlords Association and National Association of Landlords both back the Bill.
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.