Decent living conditions

Three in ten privately rented homes are considered "non-decent" and one in six are physically unsafe – even though councils have a legal obligation to correct hazards in the home.

This is considerably higher than for other forms of tenure and points to a sector-wide problem. Although the law requires landlords to ensure their properties are free from major hazards, we need to go further than that and ensure that there are national minimum standards for any property being rented in the private sector. This could be done by extending the Decent Homes Standard to private rentals and making it mandatory for all new rental contracts. We also need checks and enforcement, such as mandatory periodic inspection and testing of electrical installations and appliances in all types of privately rented homes.

In March 2015 the coalition limited the use of no-fault evictions when landlords haven't made repairs that the local council has ordered - revenge evictions - through the Deregulation Act.

Read more of our proposals for improving conditions in our Queens Speech for Housing.

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  • commented 2014-07-05 23:31:12 +0100
    As a landlord I would like a reference to the research that shows this level of properties with safety hazards.
    As you correctly state, councils have a legal duty to take actioin against such issues, and the main problem with the PRS is that councils DO NOT enforce existing legislation against bad landlords (and then want to introduce selective licensing schemes that will do nothing to tackle rogue landlords (as they will continue with their illegal ways), but will cost landlords a lot of money which will then be passed on to tenants.

    There is already plenty of legislation that requires a minimum standard of privately rented homes; it is just not enforced. For example, Portable Appliance Testing regulations apply to all electrical appliances provided by the landlord in exactly the same way as they apply to any other business; Landlords have a duty to ensure the safety of the fixed electrical installation.

    Please remember that all additional costs placed on a landlord will be added to the rent that the tenant pays, probably with markup.