Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

Response to new Homes Bill

Our News in Brief

Response to new Homes Bill

22nd January 2018
This week, the Homes Bill inches ever closer to statute, having passed its second reading in the Commons.

The bill seeks to set new standards for rented homes, requiring landlords and agents to ensure rental properties are fit for human habitation and giving tenants’ legal rights when they are not.

Landlords and agents already have to ensure properties are not kept in a state of ‘disrepair’, but are only obliged to repair the structure of a property when it is broken or damaged. However, now ‘unfit’ will cover issues such as fire safety, inadequate heating, poor ventilation, condensation and mould.

Interim Chief Executive of Caritas Anchor House, Andy Haines, responds.

“We see this second reading passing as a significant step forward. One of our main goals at Caritas Anchor House is to ensure that our residents move on to comfortable and safe accommodation when beginning their life away from homelessness, and the Fitness for Human Habitation Bill provides confidence that this can, and hopefully will, happen.

“We would be delighted to be able to reassure our residents that once they have gained independence and look to rent properties by themselves, they can legally expect a home ‘fit for human habitation’.

“Giving the right to act against landlords who do not uphold standards will empower tenants, and give them the confidence needed to demand adequate standards and seek remedial action if they have been unfairly or unsafely housed.

“We look forward to the advancement of this Bill and are optimistic of the benefits this will bring, not only to the futures of our residents, but for all tenants renting properties across the UK. The fact that this proposed legislation has now gained cross-party support is greatly encouraging and we are glad that parties can come together to improve the rights of renters.”

According to this proposed legislation, the newly classified ‘category 1 hazard’ classification – or direct threat to health and safety – currently covers 795,000 private tenancies. This means one in six of the privately rented homes in the country are not fit for habitation. This figure highlights the shocking need for the introduction of this Bill, which intends to amend the vastly outdated Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985 and Building Act of 1984.

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