Friday, September 25, 2020
Landlords

Bill allowing tenants to sue their landlords to be debated on Friday

A Government-backed Bill that will allow tenants to sue their landlords over poor property conditions will be debated on Friday

Tenancy is not easy in the UK as tenants continue to face a number of adverse living conditions. Many a times, tenants are forced to live in below-standard conditions and yet pay the required rent. Already a sector under stress across the UK due to a lack of availability of rental properties and fewer new constructions taking place, poor condition and a lack of maintenance of many rental properties makes the worries for tenants even worse. Tenants are compelled to live in under-rated conditions without the required facilities.

This has forced a Bill in the Commons which is certain to become a law as it has won government backing. The Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government has given the Bill official support. This measure will enable tenants to sue their landlords over poor property conditions. The Private Members’ Bill will be debated at Commons on Friday this week. Friday’s debate will be a second reading in the Commons.

However, there is more to it before it actually becomes a law. After it goes through the Commons, it will pass through a number of stages. After moving from the Commons, it will go for detailed consideration at committee stage, then the report stage, and finally a third reading in the Commons. A similar process will be undertaken in the Lords. If amendments are suggested to the Bill at the Lords, it will go back to the Commons. After this, the Bill will be sent for Royal Assent and become a law.

Entitled the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill 2017-19, the Bill by London Labour MP Karen Buck seeks to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 by extending its obligations to cover almost all landlords and it also updates the ‘habitation test’ of substandard property. If it becomes a law, it will be apply only to England.

When the Bill becomes a law, it will give tenants the right to take action in the courts. They will be able to sue their landlords over unfit property conditions. The Bill will require landlords to maintain a property that is fit for human habitation, failing which, tenants will be eligible to take necessary legal action against their landlords in the courts.

Writing on the Politics Home website, Buck herself has explained why she has tried to get such a measure agreed for several years as a back-bencher before securing government support.

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