Homes fit for humans one step closer

Third time was the charm for efforts to revive the right of renters to sue their landlord for safety failures.

Karen Buck's Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill was talked out in 2015, then a Labour amendment to the Housing Bill in 2016 was defeated. But today, after winning the support of more than 100 MPs who attended the Second Reading debate, the Bill passed unanimously and is a step closer to being law.

It just needs to go through committee stage, two more votes in the Commons, and the whole process again in the House of Lords. But with government support its chances are much better.

A huge amount of hard work has gone into getting the Bill this far and our supporters have played a crucial role in urging their MPs to show up today. The wider coalition includes Shelter, Citizens Advice and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. The landlord groups also came on board – the reform has the potential to drive out the bad landlords and thereby improve the industry’s image, after all.

Private member’s Bills are fragile things. To get the kind of support this Bill did, they need to be very focused and pick their battles. Without that support just one MP could have torpedoed it. So there’s a lot that we would have liked to see in there that might have seen the Bill end up in the recycling like so many other efforts.

But the success of the Bill depends on tenants having protection from unfair evictions and rent rises, and also access to legal support. These are bigger battles, and where our attention will turn to next.

You can support our campaign to end unfair evictions here.


The Guardian


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