It was announced yesterday by the Secretary of State for Housing Sajid Javid that the government will introduce further legislation against landlords. New legislation is to ensure rental properties are safe for tenants.
The proposed new legislation, is intended to allow tenants to take legal action against rogue landlords who do not comply with their legal obligations. Local authorities will be given power to prosecute rogue landlords who do not comply with their legal obligations to maintain the properties in good safe order. by local authorities. Local authorities will be given the power to deal with bad social and private landlords.
The new proposed legislation is intended that landlords confirm that their property is fit for human habitation at the beginning of each tenancy and throughout. Should landlords fail to do this, the tenant has the right to take legal action in the courts for breach of tenancy.
The government has already introduced powers for local authorities which enable them to crack down on the minority of rogue landlords who let unsafe accommodation. Currently, local authorities can fine substandard landlords up to £30,000. From April this year councils will also be able to issue banning orders prohibiting rogue landlords from remaining in the sector.
Mrs Karen Buck MP has said that in order to protect tenant safety, the government will also support further measures proposed in a Private Members Bill. This is intended to protect both social and private tenants. This will offer all tenants another route to take direct action and bring their landlords to court if the property is substandard.
Housing Secretary Sajid Javid 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 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.’
Mr Sajjad Ahmad the CEO of The BLA has said “We have ample current legislation that has been tested and tried and is working well. No matter what you do a few rogue landlords are and will continue to have total disregard for the law no matter what the law. This is evident as we already have the “Landlord tenant Act 1985, Section 11” and also “Defective Premises Act 1972, section 4” and still rogue landlords continue to flout the law. If the intention of Mr Corbyn and Mr Javid is to win the tenants votes at the election the proposal makes sense. If based on genuinely trying to help tenants, then tenants already have sweeping powers under the above current legislation. Currently there is no legal aid for disrepair as a standalone complaint. You only get legal aid for disrepair if the landlord has issued a claim under section 8 and there is a threat of eviction. Then and only than tenants stand a change of getting legal aid and in turn getting justice which they of course deserve.
Mr Ahmad said “Passing further legislation without funds from the government so tenants can be properly represented is akin to a gun without bullets, rendered useless. What will be interesting is not so much the new legislation but the mechanics of the new legislation.”