Zorana Halpin
Zorana Halpin

By Zorana Halpin

2 out of 3 ain’t bad!

Too often, renting is unsafe. Our Fix Renting campaign , launched in January, focuses on three ways to make renting safer:

  • Landlords to be legally responsible for doing electrical safety checks
  • Letting agents made to better protect renters’ money
  • All rented homes to be genuinely ‘fit for human habitation’

And thanks to the work of Shelter and our amazing supporters, the first two of them should now become law, along with strong measures tackling rogue landlords!

Changes to the law in the Housing and Planning Bill will mean that soon:

  • Your landlord will have to carry out electrical safety checksThis really is a life-saving amendment. Regular checks should help make sure that the tragic death of Thirza, who sadly died because of unsafe electrics in her home, isn’t repeated.
  • Your money will be better protected. There is already a law which says that your deposit has to be protected in a tenancy deposit scheme. Shelter have worked with the Association of Residential Letting Agencies (ARLA) to persuade government to change the law so that any money your letting agent handles on your behalf – like your rent payments – will have to be put into a separate bank account. So if a letting agent goes bust, commits fraud or steals it, you have a better chance of getting your money back.
  • You’ll be able to get some rent back if you’ve rented from a rogue landlord. If you’ve had to live in poor conditions, you may be able to claim some of your rent back. Rent repayment orders already exist, but they couldn’t be used in cases of poor conditions until now.
  • Your council will be able to fine your rogue landlord up to £30,000. So if you make a complaint to your local council about persistent bad conditions and your landlord still won’t do the repairs, the council will now be able to hit them where it hurts.
  • Your council will have the power to ban a rogue landlord from letting properties. If you are unlucky enough to rent from a criminal landlord that repeatedly flouts the law, your council will have the power to ban them. If a banned landlord continues to rent properties out they could face a fine of up to £30,000 or even a prison sentence.

Whilst all great news, we’re hesitant to celebrate just yet – the Housing and Planning Bill still hasn’t passed through parliament. And even when it does, we still have a lot more work to do to fix the private rented sector, including making sure our third call around all rented homes being legally fit for human habitation becomes a reality.  

Shockingly, the law that requires rented homes to be fit for human habitation can’t be used by renters to challenge their landlords anymore – even though it’s desperately needed. Frustratingly, just last week the government rejected an amendment that would bring it back to life. But with the help of our supporters, we’ll continue campaigning on this until everyone has a safe and decent place to call home.

If you haven’t already, join our campaign to fix renting, to keep the pressure up on government. We’ve been successful so far, so let’s try and make it a safer renting hat trick!

And a huge thank you to everyone who’s joined us already – the wins we’ve secured wouldn’t have happened without you.

9 Responses to 2 out of 3 ain’t bad!

  1. A Landlord says:

    It is frustrating, every few months, there are changes to the law which impact Landlords. It is frustrating for landlords who have to keep up to date.

    • Rent Rebel says:

      Ah bless. “I really want all that unearned wealth to just accrue in my sleep, but then I heard there’s this thing called housing law and .. well.. I just don’t know if i’m into that”

  2. A Landlord says:

    “You’ll be able to get some rent back if you’ve rented from a rogue landlord. If you’ve had to live in poor conditions, you may be able to claim some of your rent back. Rent repayment orders already exist, but they couldn’t be used in cases of poor conditions until now.”

    What does this mean? Does this mean a tenant will stop cleaning the kitchen, leave grease in the kitchen everywhere, turn into a slum and then send photos to seek compensation?

    “Your council will be able to fine your rogue landlord up to £30,000. So if you make a complaint to your local council about persistent bad conditions and your landlord still won’t do the repairs, the council will now be able to hit them where it hurts.”

    Shelter should provide more details, but frankly, it means more bureaucracy and looking at ways tenants don’t abuse the laws. I know one case, where a tenant made a complaint about repair issues and then would not answer phone calls from letting agents who were trying to arrange repairmen.

    • Colin Lunt says:

      In relation to your first paragraph, the answer is no.

    • John G says:

      I’m sure if records are kept the courts would not find against a landlord/agent making all reasonable efforts to get the property fixed up. It just means they have to be competent.

      Inventories (with photos ideally) are there for the landlord to prove it was in good condition when the tenant took on the property. A lot of the time you can tell when the tenant hasn’t been keeping up their responsibilities of cleaning, and if they don’t report any problems when they occur (or don’t have a text/email/phone records to show that) its not the landlords problem – you can organise quarterly/similar regular checks if you really want to be on top of that.

  3. mm1 says:

    Here’s an idea…abolish letting agents! If you own it, make money from it, then you are responsible for the house and people living in it. Cut out the middle men and lets take some responsibility. Provide clear consistent training. You can’t drive a car with out a test, become a teacher with out going to university…even a hairdresser has to train. Educate…don’t criminalise.

  4. I have a great rogue Landlady and Estate Agent story where I lost my deposit to no fault of my own. Purely because I believed the landlady to be honest. She wasn’t she led me with constant lies and she won through the Tenancy Deposit Scheme because she had more time on her hands to present a better case than I. I at the time was caring for both elderly parents. She used my desperate position and robbed me and the TDS let her. She used my money to put all the things wrong with her house that I had complained about for months, told me she was returning from abroad as her little girl had heart problems. All of it was lie as she rented the property out once she had made the repairs.

  5. michelle says:

    hi I live in house rented fron a privat landlord in the house there is damp, windows that have not been finished had a hole in my garden for 4 months over winter were my son fell down. holes were mice get in and they will not cover a toilet that keeps running and as over flowed and the land lord comes in the property when I’m not there have stopped paying rent so they are evicting me in the next few weeks landlord is challenge in Mansfield Nottingham there are also lots more wrong with the property.