Sue Hayman

Working hard for Workington constituency

Sue backs bill to protect renters from homes unfit for human habitation

Sue Hayman, Member of Parliament for Workington, has today been in Westminster to give her backing for a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Labour MP Karen Buck, which would 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 162,000 dangerously unfit properties in the North West.

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 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 was backed by Labour previously and was included in the Party’s 2017 election manifesto. Following a Labour campaign, the Conservative government now says that it will support the legislation.

Sue 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 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.”

Further Information:

More information on the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill.

Number of rented homes ‘unfit for human habitation’

Private rented Council Housing association Total
North West 129,000 4,000 30,000 162,000
Total (England) 795,000 126,000 118,000 1,039,000

Source: English Housing Survey 2015

‘Unfit for human habitation’ here refers to homes with the most serious category 1 hazards, defined as hazards that pose a serious threat to the health or safety of people living in or visiting the property.


Number of unfit homes as a proportion of total stock
Private rented Council Housing association Total
North West 22% 4% 6% 14%
Total (England) 17% 8% 5% 12%

Source: English Housing Survey 2015.


Labour’s full commitments to renters


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