David Drew MP backs Labour legislation to protect renters from homes unfit for human habitation
14% of rented property in southwest unfit for human habitation
113,000 dangerously unfit properties in the southwest
“More rights if you buy a fridge than if you rent a home” says Shadow Secretary of State for Housing
‘’unfit” homes may have dangerous electrics, vermin infestations, or aren’t fire safe.
Stroud MP David Drew is backing a Bill this week which will give tenants a new legal right to ensure their home is ‘fit for human habitation’.
The new legislation, long campaigned for by Labour, could help renters in 113,000 dangerously unfit properties in the southwest region.
“We see far too many people in Gloucestershire come to us for advice about ‘unfit’ homes. Damp, inadequate and sometimes dangerous, housing causes real misery and health problems for families and we must strengthen their ability to hold landlords to account,” said Mr Drew.
Nationally, there are over one million rented properties containing the most serious ‘category 1’ hazards, including homes that have unsafe electrics, vermin infestations, or aren’t fire safe.
The Bill, being introduced by Labour MP Karen Buck on Friday 19 January, will give tenants new legal powers to enforce their right to a decent home by taking their landlord to court if the property they live in is not fit.
This is a particularly important for council tenants such as those who lived in Grenfell Tower, because it is councils who are notionally responsible for enforcing standards, but local authorities can’t enforce against themselves.
Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, John Healey MP said: “Our homes are at the centre of our lives but at the moment renters too often don’t have the basic rights that we take for granted in other areas.
“In practice you have fewer rights renting a family home than you do buying a fridge-freezer, and decisions made by Conservative Ministers have made it easier for bad landlords to let unfit homes. As a result, too many people are forced to put up with downright dangerous housing.
“After the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower, it’s even more important that we ensure all homes are fit for human habitation.”
This change in the law has been backed by Labour previously and was included in the Party’s June manifesto but has been blocked by the Tories on two previous occasions. However, following a Labour campaign, the government now say they will support the legislation.
In the south west, 97,000 private rented homes and an additional 16,000 social houses and council houses have been found to be unfit for human habitation.