Private Rented Sector — [Andrew Rosindell in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 1:30 pm on 29th November 2018.

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Photo of Clive Betts Clive Betts Chair, Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, Chair, Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee 1:30 pm, 29th November 2018

I hope that the Minister will come back on that, because we made a clear recommendation, and it would be helpful to have her response to it. The two things go together. Our report called not for the abolition of section 21, but merely for it to be looked at again. The same is true of retaliatory evictions. The Government are looking at one thing, so will they indicate that they might be prepared to look at the other as well, as part of a joint review?

We also called for a specialist housing court. We are pleased that the Government have now announced a call for evidence on the setting up of such a court. Will the Minister explain what will be covered and the likely terms of a housing court’s jurisdiction? Will it cover section 21 notices or retaliatory eviction? Will it cover tenancy fees, which we have recently had legislation on? Will it cover the issues arising from the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill from my hon. Friend Ms Buck? Will it go so far as to look at the whole matter of leasehold, which we are discussing in another inquiry? Will the Minister explain precisely what it will cover, or whether the Government have ruled on what it will not cover? It would be helpful to have such information.

The first of two other issues we asked to be looked at was that of five-year electrical safety checks. We are pleased that the Government have announced support for that in principle, but when will we get a clear announcement and action on it? In terms of having carbon monoxide alarms not only in every room with a coal fire but every room with a gas fire, I understand that a working group inside the Department is looking at that. Where has that got to? Every day of delay might lead people to lose their life because of carbon monoxide poisoning, which is easy to stop with a very simple measure. Will the Minister give us information about that as well?

We looked at enforcement and local authority powers. That is clearly important, and we questioned the housing health and safety rating system, as we have done before.