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Bill giving tenants the right to sue is on verge of becoming law

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.

  • S l
    • S l
    • 14 December 2018 09:47 AM

    social renters would be too scare to sue because that means they wont be able to get back into social housing or be prejudice especially when they wanted to move to a better housing. where else with private sector, they are not intimidated and often just had to inform landlord to get it fix but this rule will only encourage an increasing number of tenants to cry wolf and not tell landlord so they can get money out from landlord and get out from paying rentals. effectively the mps are fighting for tenants to be rogue tenants and increase those who are not but who wont when it comes to money and the law allow them to do so

  • icon

    I'm no lawyer but as far as I understood anybody could sue anybody else for anything at all anyway. But, if your claim was spurious it would either get rejected before getting to court or quickly rejected in the court .... so I'm a bit puzzled at all this.

    Don't care anyway, all our properties are well habitable until a tenant does something silly like fill it with thousands of fleas from uncared for pets.

  • icon

    Madness, the end is nigh.Nice people making nice laws so as to help nasty, dirty or uncaring people? It is not going to help anyone. I suggest landlords apply a steep charge for regular detailed property inspections. That would not be the silly simplistic inspection reports that my agent sends me.

    I really resent being classed as a criminal operator because one of my tenant fouls up a perfectly good property.

    S l
    • S l
    • 15 December 2018 09:18 AM

    Hear hear

  • icon

    I get tenants to sign an inspection sheet every time I do an inspection so any issues raised by either side is recorded. Any damage caused is also noted so a complete paper trail is documented, I will then counter sue tenant for damages and costs plus evict them. If they can’t pay any costs then it’s CCJ time, just to help them out with referencing for their next house!

    S l
    • S l
    • 15 December 2018 09:19 AM

    Thank you for your info. Definitely will do the same

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Labour are pushing for greater Legal Aid, especially for Housing cases. You can just see this Bill as being a ' Money-Earner for Solicitors to defend against Possession proceedings by bringing one of these spurious claims. Okay, the claim doesn't succeed after about 6 months - of the tenant staying on , causing Havoc and Not paying rent !!!
    Its akin to a Retaliatory Defence ( as opposed to retaliatory Eviction !!! )

  • icon

    Nothing new here, any breach of contract is legally contestable under Consumer Rights Act


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