Kate has welcomed new Labour-sponsored legislation that will allow private tenants to take landlords to court if they are exposed to dangerous housing conditions such as severe mould, exposed wires or severe fire risks.
The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act, which comes into force today, will mean that landlords will have to ensure that their properties are habitable and free from hazards at the start of and throughout the tenancy.
While the measures in this Act were rejected as ‘unnecessary’ by the Conservative government in 2016, pressure from Labour led to the government caving in last year and accepting the need for the Act.
In the North West, over 100,000 private rented homes have hazards which pose a serious threat to people’s health and safety.
Across the country 700,000 private rented homes contain hazard that presents a severe risk to tenants’ health; from exposure to naked wires and fire hazards to excessive mould and damp.
Cold, damp and dangerous housing conditions are estimated to cost the NHS a huge £2.5bn a year.
Big cuts to local authority funding have meant that local councils, who are currently responsible for preventing the occurrence of category one hazards in rental homes, don’t have the resources to properly enforce rules around housing standards.
From 20 March private tenants signing new and renewed tenancy agreements of less than seven years will be able to tackle problems independently of local authorities and will be able to sue landlords who fail to keep properties up to habitable standards.
Commenting on the new legislation, Kate said: “Trafford is one of the most expensive local authorities for renters in the North West. The complete failure by the Conservative government to provide the decent and affordable homes we need round here means that far too many renters in Trafford live in unacceptable and dangerous conditions.
“This long-awaited Labour legislation provides a critical safety net against the truly shocking conditions that some private renters are forced to put up with.
“I’d urge anyone who feels their accommodation is unsafe or unhealthy to use these new powers to get the accommodation that everyone in one of the richest countries in the world should consider standard.”