Landlords to face greater scrutiny under new housing bill

New housing laws proposed by Government could see landlords face fines of up to £30,000, as well as bans from letting properties.

The new legislation is designed to ensure that rented homes are safe and will give tenants the right to take legal action when landlords fail in their duties.

The Private Member’s Bill on Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability of Housing Standards) was introduced to Parliament in July last year.

Landlords working in both the social and private sector must “ensure that their property is fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout,” under the new rules.

If the landlord fails to comply, “the tenant has the right to take legal action in the courts for breach of contract on the grounds that the property is unfit for human habitation”.

At the time of its launch, Former Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid said: “Everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live. Councils already have wide-ranging powers to crack down on the minority of landlords who rent out unsafe and substandard accommodation.

“However, public safety is paramount and I am determined to do everything possible to protect tenants. That is why this Government will support new legislation that requires all landlords to ensure properties are safe and give tenants the right to take legal action if landlords fail in their duties.”

It is understood that the Bill, which is supported by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and National Landlords Association (NLA), will not introduce any new standards but rather increase enforcement penalties on those already active.

Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NLA, said: “As the Bill progresses through Parliament, the NLA will seek to ensure that proper protections remain in place so that landlords are not faced with vexatious claims, nor face punishment for conditions that result from the tenant’s actions.”

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