Let's Talk About The Fitness For Human Habitation Bill

Fri 28 Dec 2018
Issue 14 cover image

A new amendment to the Landlord and Tenant Act (1985), passed this week in parliament (19/12/18), introduces no new duties for landlords, but gives tenants a right to take action in the courts. Social tenants currently have no means to compel their landlords to carry out work while private tenants are required to rely on often overstretched council environmental health teams. According to Shelter Briefing, renting, in both the social and private sectors is not fit for purpose and hasn’t been for a generation. The 2015/2016 English Housing survey shows the number of properties with a Category 1 hazard, defined as a serious and immediate risk to a person’s health and safety under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), are 244,122 social properties and 794,600 private properties.

The problems that were raised by Grenfell tenants about fire doors, emergency lighting and sprinklers should now be covered by this amendment.

Will standards rise with the new Landlord and Tenant Act (1985)?
Standards remain unchanged, but some power will move to the architects, planners and local authorities trying to enforce existing standards and argueing for investment to secure decent places for people to live. Shelter said, as well as helping tenants take action directly, it would help to raise conditions generally through the broader positive impact on landlord education and awareness of their responsibilities and the risk of being sued.

Cover image: CGT Lettings

Until next week. Please make sure to send in your ideas to info@designnetwork.org.uk
Author: Jane Briginshaw, Design England

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