Housing and Planning Bill - Report (1st Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:12 pm on 11th April 2016.

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Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Shadow Spokesperson (Housing), Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 8:12 pm, 11th April 2016

My Lords, Amendment 32 is in my name, with the support of my noble friend Lord Beecham and the noble Baroness, Lady Grender. It puts a duty on landlords to ensure that the properties they let are fit for human habitation and they remain so during the course of the tenancy. It gives the tenant power to take action: to go to court, to get an injunction and to get an order requiring the landlord to make good the repair and carry out necessary works.

If the Government do not accept this amendment, as I suspect they will not, they need to tell us why it is not needed and why they believe that tenants have adequate protections already. They will have to do better than Mr Marcus Jones, the Minister in the other place, who said that he believed that homes should be fit for human habitation but did not want to pass a law that specifically requires that. What complete and utter nonsense. That is not good enough, and we are seeking to put in the Bill a proposal to update the law and improve tenants’ ability to take action against their landlord where necessary to bring their home up to a state that is fit for human habitation.

It strikes me as odd that the Government are not embracing this amendment wholeheartedly. The private rented sector is growing. People need to be able to live in properties that are safe, warm and dry. The updating of the law will, in the end, be used only against those landlords who do not play fair and who have been compelled to carry out repairs to their properties. We are all aware of the health problems associated with living in a property that is damp, has condensation, suffers from poor ventilation and has mould or other problems. This is a sensible and much-needed device to give tenants the power to ensure that the property they rent is properly maintained and fit for human habitation. I very much hope the House will support it. I beg to move.