Better rights for tenants planned

Labour has promised better rights for renters, with the introduction of new legal standards for rented homes.

The announcement comes as research finds that some renters are paying every month to live in homes that are classified as “non-decent” by the government. It finds that 400,000 families with children are among those living in 1.3m substandard private rented properties with problems including unsafe wiring, severe damp and vermin infestation.

The proposals include requirements for safe wiring and appliances, freedom from damp and general good repair. Landlords who fail to meet the “tougher” minimum standards would face fines of up to £100,000, Labour said.

Shadow housing secretary John Healey said the proposals would empower renters to “call time on bad landlords” by setting standards to ensure homes were “fit for human habitation”.

The party would also introduce new powers for councils to license landlords and fine those who break the rules.

Cllr Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth’s Labour Leader, said:

“As a private renter myself, I understand the housing challenges families in our city can face.

The vast majority of landlords provide decent quality homes that tenants are happy with, but sadly some are benefiting from letting out sub-standard homes and action must be taken”.

Research by national charity Shelter has found that six in 10 renters had experienced problems over the past year related to damp, mould, leaking roofs or windows, electrical hazards, animal infestations, or gas leaks.

Cllr Morgan added:

The Tories have failed to fix the nation’s housing crisis. Our homes are at the centre of our lives, but too often tenants don’t have basic consumer rights that we take for granted in other areas. Renters in our city deserve better”.

Labour will include a policy in its forthcoming manifesto to consult landlords about new legal minimum standards to ensure that homes are “fit for human habitation”.