Tenants will be able to take legal action against landlords who fail to maintain rented homes to a safe standard after the Government announced it would back new laws proposed by a Labour MP.
Housing Secretary Sajid Javid said he supports the draft legislation which will protect tenants in both the social and private rented sectors.
The measures come amid a crackdown on rogue landlords who now face heavy fines or being banned from letting properties altogether if they provide unsafe or substandard homes for their tenants.
Local authorities can fine failing landlords up to £30,000 and, from April, will be able to issue banning orders or expel them from the market altogether.
Labour MP Karen Buck, who called for tenants’ powers to be increased in a private member’s bill, said she was “delighted” it had won the Government’s backing.
“Now let’s make it law,” she said.
Under Ms Buck’s proposals, tenants can take landlords to court for a breach of contract if they fail in their duty to keep homes fit for human habitation.
Rental properties must meet the required standard at the beginning of the tenancy and be kept to it throughout.
Mr Javid, who had housing added to his communities and local government brief in the recent Cabinet reshuffle, said: “Everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live.
“Councils already have wide-ranging powers to crack down on the minority of landlords who rent out unsafe and substandard accommodation.
“However, public safety is paramount and I am determined to do everything possible to protect tenants.
“That is why Government will support new legislation that requires all landlords to ensure properties are safe and give tenants the right to take legal action if landlords fail in their duties.”
Ms Buck tweeted: “Delighted to confirm that the Government will be supporting my Private Member’s Bill to strengthen tenants’ rights and ensure homes are fit for human habitation. Now let’s make it law.”