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The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill is a private member’s bill introduced in the House of Commons by Karen Buck (Labour MP for Westminster North) and sponsored in the House of Lords by Lord Best (Crossbench). With government support, the bill completed its third reading in the House of Commons on 26 October 2018. The bill received its first reading in the House of Lords on 29 October 2018 and is scheduled for second reading on 23 November 2018. 

The bill seeks to improve the standard of housing in the private and social rented sectors by giving tenants the right to take direct legal action to require their landlord to rectify a defective property. Data from the English Housing Survey in 2016 found a fifth of dwellings did not meet the decent homes standard, with the highest rates of failure in the private rented sector. The bill would amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to make provision for an implied covenant by the landlord that the property is fit for human habitation at the date the lease is granted and for the duration of the term of the lease. The bill would also amend the definition of fitness for human habitation in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to apply the housing health and safety rating system prescribed under section 2 of the Housing Act 2004. If the landlord fails to maintain the property in a fit state, the tenant would have the right to take direct legal action for breach of contract. 

This briefing summarises the bill’s provisions, the current regulations on housing standards, and the bill’s House of Commons stages. 

Documents to download

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