The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill
Currently, landlords have no obligation to their tenants to put or keep the property in a condition fit for habitation. They must repair structural damage and heating, gas, water and electricity installations – however these terms only apply once something has broken.
A Private Members’ Bill, currently before Parliament, proposes to create a new duty on all residential landlords to ensure that their properties are fit for human habitation. The Bill has received official support from the Government, which means that it is almost certain to become law. The Federation believes this measure will help to raise housing standards, especially in the private rented sector, and strongly supports it.
This will cover things like fire safety, inadequate heating, or poor ventilation causing condensation and mould growth.
It is rare for private bills to become law, mostly because of the limited time available for debate in Parliament. This makes it very easy for an MP opposed to the Bill to ‘talk it out’, by taking up all the available time.
In order for the bill to proceed, there will need to be 100 MPs present. This is the number needed to force a vote, so that the Bill can’t be ‘talked out’ and can proceed.
If the Bill does become law this will have little impact on the vast majority of professional landlords who already take their legal and moral obligations seriously, however some may experience an added expense in order to improve the living conditions of lots of tenants across the UK.