MP John Healey claims victory in "unfit" housing battle

MP John Healey is claiming victory in a two-year fight to protect renters from unsafe homes.

The Wentworth and Dearne MP and Shadow Housing Secretary is leading on new legislation he first proposed two years ago.

Conservative Ministers and MPs have twice voted down new measures, but the Government has now pledged to support a new Bill, which was introduced on Friday, to give renters a legal right to ensure their home is “fit for human habitation”.

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Mr Healey 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.”

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Mr Healey said the new legislation could help renters in 127,000 dangerously unfit properties in Yorkshire and the Humber. 

“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,” he said.

“This 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 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.