Tenants will now be able to sue their landlords over properties which are cold, mouldy and insufficient for residence. If the property owner hinders in making repairs, a court sanction from the judge could mean that they are forced to carry out the work under the law.
The new bill which will become into effect during March 2019, is called Fitness for Human Habitation and will be associated with the Homes Act. Under the new rules and regulations, landlords who own a tenancy of fewer than seven years will be forced to make a court appearance if their tenants choose to report them for inadequate housing conditions.
Under current guidelines – property owners should fix maintenance issues within 24 hours if they pose a danger to occupiers’ health and safety. If the issue is less serious then they are allowed up to a month to fix the problem.
The Homeless charity Shelter shared in a blog post: ‘Crucially, the bill will help private and social renter’s voices to be heard, by giving them the right to take their landlord to court over unfit and unsafe conditions in their home.’
‘The Bill could help to prevent another tragedy like the Grenfell tower fire. This was the starkest reminder of the dangers of unsafe accommodation.’
The charity also states that there are currently up to one million rented homes in the UK which pose a serious risk to the lives of the people living inside them – which could be as many as 2.5million occupies.
Heather Wheeler, the Minister for housing and homelessness, said that the new law is a ‘further step to ensure that tenants have the decent homes they deserve’.
With more and more families choosing to rent privately, the government is attempting to do all it can to safeguard the living conditions of young children and their parents, as well as the underprivileged in society.
Previously, many tenants have been forced to deal with substandard and often unsafe accommodation partly because of a 1985 law which deemed it the responsibility of local authorities to investigate housing conditions.
Since many local councils are already spread thin as a result of massive budget cuts, standards have commonly only been partly or poorly enforced. This meant some landlords could skim over costs of upkeep and repair, allowing tenants to deal with the disastrous consequences.
The new laws will also hopefully act as a deterrent for lazy landlords who hope to get away with renting out run-down and dangerous properties to the public. Circumstances allowing tenants to sue their landlords will include an insufficient supply of the following: ventilation, freedom from damp, natural lighting, clean water, drainage plus sanitation.