Private Rented Sector — [Andrew Rosindell in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:02 pm on 29th November 2018.

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Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East 2:02 pm, 29th November 2018

I thank the Chair of the Select Committee for that intervention. That is particularly true in the Edgware ward of the London Borough of Harrow, where I asked the council a series of questions about how many registered houses in multiple occupation they had on their books. I was astonished when they told me they had 89 for the borough. I can take Members to roads in Edgware where there are 89 in the road. One problem is the local authority’s resources to deal with these issues, but, more importantly, people just ignore their responsibilities. That has to be dealt with.

I come now to the report itself. I will not deal with the recommendations that the Government have taken on board, because they are fine and we all agree with them. I am delighted that they have been taken on. I worry about some aspects that the Government are not addressing so far. When the Minister replies, will she update us? The Government response was some five months ago and I hope that things have moved on. I will go through the report, looking at the questions that I would like the Minister to answer.

In the Government’s response, the housing health and safety rating system recommendation is partly accepted, but the view is that the Government will review the position in due course. Can the Minister update us on where that review is? The Chair of the Select Committee mentioned the reality of carbon monoxide poisoning and other safety measures in homes. Helen Hayes, who is no longer in her place, raised a desperate situation in her constituency. The issue is ensuring that tenants’ safety is paramount. Over the time I have served on the Select Committee, we have considered various different aspects of safety, and my concern is that building regulations and safety regulations do not seem to be being updated as they should, both to protect tenants and to point out to landlords their responsibilities. I would like to understand the Government’s position in that area.

Equally, where the Government and Law Commission are reviewing what legislation could be enacted, the Government say they are having discussions with the Law Commission. That is always helpful, but could we be updated with the results? As I have said, if we introduce legislation we must be careful that we do not put off good landlords from renting out their properties and maintaining good order at the same time as squeezing out the criminal behaviours that are clearly unacceptable.

I turn now to section 21 notices; we will have a debate on that subject next Thursday, I think, and I do not want to rehearse the discussions we will have there, because no doubt the Minister will be answering that debate too if it proceeds as expected.