“Smudge, you really need to have a wash, you smell terrible!”
“Ted how can you say that? You know it’s because my clothes are all damp and mouldy!”
“Well there’s no point in moaning, our Landlord just won’t fix the problem.”
“I wasn’t the one moaning, you said I smell! Anyway, soon he will have to sort the damp out!”
“Yes because we’ll be swimming in here if the damp gets much worse, in fact we’ll probably drown.”
“I can doggie paddle Ted I will be fine! That’s not what meant. I overheard Max & Mattie talking and there is a Parliamentary Bill coming soon to allow us poor tenants, suffering in damp kennels, to MAKE our landlords fix issues which make it difficult to live comfortably.”
“Hopefully just in time for another boiling hot Summer!!! In the meantime, I shall be keeping rubber ring handy and getting a peg for my nose so I can’t smell you!”
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill
This bill is looking to amend sections of the Landlord and Tenant Act and bring it up to date for the current Private Rental Sector. It uses criteria of 29 Hazards, which can cause distress to tenants living in unfit rental property. These are listed in the HHSRS (Housing Health and Safety Rating Act of 2006) which was originally put together to help local authorities enforce housing conditions.
In 2016/ 2017 the English Housing Survey found that 38% of private renters lived in poor housing. Therefore, it as concluded, that the present structure was not working. This new Bill mean will give tenants the right to take legal action if their landlord fails to keep the rental property in good order i.e. fit for human habitation.
Since 2006 each Hazard has been assessed separately and can be classed as category 1 (something which urgently requires attention) or category 2 (less urgent but should be sorted in a timely manner). The main part of the new Bill (aimed at what most people term as “Rogue Landlords”) proposes to create a new duty on Landlords to make sure that the property they rent is fit for human habitation at the beginning and during the tenancy, still based around the original 29 hazards:
So what is an unfit property?
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 explains as follows
“So far defective in one or more of those matters (which are set out below) that it is not reasonably suitable for occupation in that condition”
The matters are
- Freedom from damp
- Internal arrangement
- Natural lighting
- Facilities for the prep of food
- Water supply
- Drainage and sanitary conveniences
- Facilities for the Disposal of Wastewater
The bill adds the following wording:
“Any risk of harm to the health or safety of an actual occupier of a dwelling of HMO which arises from a deficiency in the dwelling or HMO”.
Where is the Bill at the moment?
It was brought from The House of Commons to The House of Lords on 29th October 2018.
It was read a first time and ordered to be printed.
The 2nd reading is scheduled to take place on 23th November 2018.