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MP launching new bid to make rental accommodation ‘fit for human habitation’


Labour MP Karen Buck is planning to reintroduce her Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill in Parliament today.

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, the move had been expected.

Buck, who represents Westminster North, originally introduced a Private Member’s Bill in 2015/2016 seeking to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to require that residential rented accommodation is provided and maintained in a state of fitness for human habitation.

Her Bill was talked out.

Labour then sought to reintroduce her proposals in the Housing and Planning Bill 2015/2016, but 312 MPs – almost entirely Conservatives – voted against, while 219 voted in favour.

The amendment would have placed a duty on landlords to ensure their homes were safe for human habitation when let, and kept so during the course of the tenancy.

However, David Cameron’s government said at the time that the requirement would place extra regulation and costs on landlords, and would push up rents. It said that local councils already had powers to deal with poor and unsafe accommodation, which it expected them to use.

David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, said he welcomed the reintroduction of Buck’s Bill.

He said: “Tenants have a right to expect that homes are fit for habitation, and the vast majority of good landlords already provide this. This Bill therefore reinforces what landlords should already be doing.

“By providing a route to direct tenant enforcement of basic housing standards, the Bill will give a further opportunity to deal with the minority of landlords who have no place in the market.

“Current legislation often lets these criminals off the hook due to underfunded councils being unable to properly enforce it.

“We look forward to working with Ms Buck as the Bill is developed and considered in Parliament.”

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