The Housing (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill passed Second Reading in the House of Commons unanimously on 19 January 2018. The Bill is a private members bill brought by Karen Buck, Labour MP for Westminster North, but, very unusually, it now has the support of both Labour and the Government. This means it now has a very good chance of becoming law.
The Bill will insert an implied term into all English tenancies of less than 7 years term that the landlord will ensure the property is fit for habitation at the start of the tenancy and keep it fit throughout. It will apply to all new social and private tenancies after it is in force, and then to all existing periodic tenancies after one year.
Giles Peaker, former chair of HLPA, and Justin Bates, former vice-chair, have been working closely with Karen Buck on the drafting and progress of the Bill since the conception of the first version of the Bill in 2015. HLPA members have been active in support – and it is the breadth and strength of support that encouraged the Government to also get behind the Bill.
The Bill will now go to committee stage. There is no timetable yet, but it is possible that the Bill will get Royal Assent in July and be in force by the autumn of this year.
HLPA’s Executive Committee would like to thank both Giles and Justin for their continued work in ensuring this vitally important piece of legislation, which goes hand in hand with the work done by HLPA’s Law Reform and Grenfell Sub-Committees, becomes law.