Private Members Bill Given Support from ARLA

The Association of Residential Letting Agents is the latest buy to let body to express support for the Private Members Bill.

The Private Members Bill offers tenants the right to sue their landlord in relation to the poor condition of substandard rental properties. A second reading for the private members bill was secured last Friday. This was executed by Labour’s Karen Buck, who earned the backing of the government for her Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability of Housing Standards Bill. Having earned its second reading, the bill now moves to the committee stage for thorough consideration in the House of Commons in the spring.

The Bill ensures that all landlords, both in the private and social sector, fulfil their duty to make sure that their properties are fit for habitation, both at the start of the tenancy and throughout. When these duties are not fulfilled, the tenant will now have the right to take legal action in the courts. This will be for a breach of contract on the basis that the property is unfit for human habitation.

The ARLA is the latest body to speak out in explicit support the measure. Over the weekend David Cox, the association’s chief executive, issued a statement which said: ‘We’re pleased the Bill has passed in Parliament after two failed attempts. It will give renters greater protection against criminal operators, is a step in the right direction for the market, and as Karen Buck MP said, we look forward to working with her to achieve better enforcement against those who bring the sector into disrepute.’

Housing Secretary Sajid David previously expressed his support for the measure, saying: ‘Announcing his support for the Bill this morning, Sajid Javid, the Housing Secretary, said: “Everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live. Councils already have wide-ranging powers to crack down on the minority of landlords who rent out unsafe and substandard accommodation. However, public safety is paramount and I am determined to do everything possible to protect tenants. That is why the government will support new legislation that requires all landlords to ensure properties are safe and give tenants the right to take legal action if landlords fail in their duties.’