Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, is backing a Bill introduced by Labour MP Karen Buck this Friday 19 January which will give renters a new legal right to ensure their home is ‘fit for human habitation’.
The new legislation, long campaigned for by Labour, could help renters in 147,000 dangerously unfit properties in London.
Nationally, there are over one million rented properties containing the most serious ‘category 1’ hazards, including homes that have unsafe electrics, vermin infestations, or aren’t fire safe.
The Labour Bill will give tenants new legal powers to enforce their right to a decent home by taking their landlord to court if the property they live in is not fit. This is a particularly important for council tenants such as those who lived in Grenfell Tower, because it is councils who are notionally responsible for enforcing standards, but local authorities can’t enforce against themselves.
This change in the law has been backed by Labour previously and was included in the Party’s June manifesto but has been blocked by the Tories on two previous occasions. However, following a Labour campaign, the government now say they will support the legislation.
Jim Fitzpatrick said:
“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their home yet we have 1 million homes in England unfit for human habitation, it’s right this Bill receives government backing.
“What happened at Grenfell Tower last year was sadly only one example of many preventable tragedies – it’s time legislation was introduced to protect people in their homes.”
Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, John Healey MP said:
“Our homes are at the centre of our lives but at the moment renters too often don’t have the basic rights that we take for granted in other areas.
“In practice you have fewer rights renting a family home than you do buying a fridge-freezer, and decisions made by Conservative Ministers have made it easier for bad landlords to let unfit homes. As a result, too many people are forced to put up with downright dangerous housing.
“After the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower, it’s even more important that we ensure all homes are fit for human habitation.”