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New draft legislation protecting tenants to impact on landlords soon

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January 2018 will see the second reading in the House of Commons of the Homes (fitness for human habitation and liability for housing standards) bill, sponsored by Labour MP Karen Buck, who is also the chair of the parliamentary group on Legal Aid.

The Private Members bill, which is worked on by various housing specialists including Giles Peaker from Anthony Gold solicitors and Justin Bates from barristers Arden Chambers, is designed to ensure that landlords will have new legal obligations to repair or replace a range of hazards that pose a significant threat to the health and safety of their tenants.

The bill focuses on ‘category one’ hazards that tenants may face not just in their own home, but also in the case of flats in the building itself. Category one hazards include broken stair steps; dangerous or defective central heating boilers; dangerous wiring and sockets; mould on internal walls / ceilings and leaking roofs. The current legislation provided under Section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act allows tenants to take action against landlords for a ‘statutory nuisance’, but only for their own property and not to shared /communal parts of the overall building.

Peaker, addressing a recent APPG meeting, said that the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy highlighted the significant restrictions with the current legislation, namely a lack of Legal Aid and lack of other means to enable tenants to take legal action, with private prosecutions in the magistrates’ court being particularly challenging.

Got a landlord or tenant problem and need legal assistance? Then click here to contact the Advantage team or call on 0800 160 1298


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