Secretary of State for Housing Sajid Javid confirmed yesterday that the government will support new legislation to ensure rental properties are safe for tenants.
The legislation, which will also allow tenants to take legal action when faced with rogue landlords, will be enforced by local authorities. They will be given the power to deal with both social and private sector landlords who rent out unsafe or substandard accommodation.
The new bill ensures that landlords confirm that their property is fit for human habitation at the beginning of each tenancy and throughout. Should a landlord fail to do this, the tenant has the right to take legal action in the courts for breach of contract. This will be on the grounds that the home is unsafe for habitation.
The government has already introduced powers for local authorities which enable them to crack down on the minority of rogue landlords who let unsafe accommodation. Currently, local authorities can fine substandard landlords up to £30,000. From April this year councils will also be able to issue banning orders prohibiting rogue landlords from remaining in the sector.
In order to protect tenant safety, the government will also support further measures proposed by Karen Buck MP in a Private Members Bill. This will protect both social and private tenants, offering them another route to take direct action and bring their landlords to court if the property is substandard.
Housing 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 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.’