Thank you for contacting me about the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill 2017-19, which is now known as the Home (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill 2017-2019.
I absolutely support this Bill. I agree that tougher legal minimum standards for all private rented homes is necessary to drive up standards and ensure that every home is fit for human habitation.
While the majority of landlords provide decent homes that tenants are happy with, there is effectively no minimum standard for private renters and rogue landlords are able to let homes that are non-decent, often for obscene prices. Currently tenants are reliant on over-stretched council environmental health teams to stamp out dangerous homes rather than being able to take matters into their own hands.
I supported an amendment to the Housing and Planning Act during its consideration in Parliament, which was designed to ensure that properties are fit for human habitation. This would have provided a more robust, secure and safe private rented sector. Disappointingly, the Government voted against the amendment and it was defeated.
At the General Election, I stood on a manifesto which pledged a consumer rights revolution for renters, to bring private renting into the twenty-first century and make all rented houses fit to be called home. The manifesto committed to introduce minimum standards to ensure that rented homes are free from serious faults such as unsafe wiring and appliances, problem damp and vermin, and it promised to name and shame rogue landlords and introduce tough fines for those who fail to meet minimum standards.
More widely I support giving local councils the automatic power to introduce compulsory licensing to tackle bad landlords and to drive up standards. I am concerned that the Government’s changes to licensing schemes in 2015 are preventing local authorities from introducing measures to improve conditions for renters and is letting bad landlords off the hook.
I am pleased that this Bill has now gone through the Committee Stage on 20 June and will be considered at Report Stage on Friday 26 October.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this important issue. After eight years of failure on housing, with no action on poor standards and high costs for private renters, I agree with you that the Government has to do more to make private renting work.