When a tenant has a landlord who refuses to make repairs to the property, the local council should be their next port of call. Unfortunately, local council environmental health teams are woefully under-resourced and many cases of unsafe housing slip through the net - there are an estimated 16% physically unsafe privately rented homes.
Where the council doesn't take action, it is technically possible for the tenant to take their landlord to court - but only if their rent is below £80 - a year. There is a requirement for landlords to ensure that homes are fit for human habitation but it's limited to rent levels last set in 1957.
Karen Buck MP is setting out today to change that.
The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill, announced in June, is second on the docket in the Commons this morning to have its Second Reading debate.
The Bill would make it possible for all tenants to sue their landlord who fails to make the home fit for human habitation. More information about the proposals can be found here.
We'll be tweeting updates during the day - we should know if the Bill goes through to the committee stage by around 2.30. You can watch it online here.
After some very long speeches during the debate on the Access to Medical Treatments Bill, Karen finally got a chance to present her Bill at about 1:50.
Unfortunately our old friend Philip Davies (he of filibustering the Revenge Evictions Bill fame) got to his feet and managed to speak for 20-odd minutes without actually telling us why this Bill wasn't needed. It didn't matter as the debate ran out of time at 2:30.
There are a couple of opportunities left to change the law. Officially, the debate will resume on 29 January. The government's Housing Bill - published this week - offers another opportunity to reform the law.