Housing and Planning Bill — New Clause 52 — Residential Lettings — Fitness for Human Habitation Test — 12 Jan 2016 at 16:45
Oliver Letwin MP, West Dorset voted against requiring landlords to keep rented homes fit for human habitation. Existing powers enable local councils to compel landlords to tackle serious hazards.
The majority of MPs voted against generally requiring landlords to keep rented homes fit for human habitation. At the time of the vote previous legislation requiring fitness for human habitation had ceased to have effect but the test had been replaced with powers for local authorities to compel landlords to tackle serious hazards.
MPs were considering the Housing and Planning Bill
The proposed new clause rejected in this vote was titled Implied term of fitness for human habitation in residential lettings and stated:
- ‘(1) Section 8 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (c.70) is amended as follows.
- (2) Leave out subsection (3) and insert—
- “(3) Subject to subsection (7), this section applies to any tenancy or licence under which a dwelling house is let wholly or mainly for human habitation.”
- (3) Leave out subsections (4) to (6).
- (4) After subsection (3), insert—
- “(3ZA) Subsection 1 does not apply where the condition of the dwelling-house or common parts is due to—
- (a) a breach by the tenant of the duty to use the dwelling-house in a tenant-like manner, or often express term of the tenancy to the same effect; or
- (b) damage by fire, flood, tempest or other natural cause or inevitable accident.
- (3ZB) Subsection 1 shall not require the landlord or licensor of the dwelling house to carry out works—
- (a) which would contravene any statutory obligation or restriction; or
- (b) which require the consent of a superior landlord, provided that such consent has been refused and the landlord or licensor has no right of action on the basis that such refusal of consent is unreasonable.
- (3ZC) Any provision of or relating to a tenancy or licence is void insofar as it purports—
- (a) to exclude or limit the obligations of the landlord or licensor under this section; or
- (b) to permit any forfeiture or impose on the tenant or licensee any penalty or disadvantage in the event of his seeking to enforce the obligation under subsection (1).
- (3ZD) Regulations may make provision for the exclusion of certain classes of letting from subsection (1).
- (3ZE) In this section “house” has the same meaning as “dwelling house” and includes—
- (a) a part of a house, and
- (b) any yard, garden, outhouses and appurtenances belonging to the house or usually enjoyed with it.”
- (5) In section 10 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, after “waste water”, insert—
- (6) Regulations may make provision for guidance as to the operation of the matters set out in section 10 which are relevant to the assessment of fitness for human habitation.
- (7) This section shall come into force—
- (a) in England at the end of the period of three months from the date on which this Act receives Royal Assent and shall apply to all tenancies licences and agreements for letting made on or after that date; and
- (b) in Wales on a date to be appointed by the Welsh Ministers.”’
An explanatory note from the proposer of the new clause summarised its intent as follows:
- This new Clause would place a duty on landlords to ensure that their properties are fit for habitation when let and remain fit during the course of the tenancy.
At the time of the vote Section 8 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 already required landlords to keep properties fit for human habitation during the tenancy however according to a House of Commons Briefing paper "over time these implied terms have ceased to have effect as they only applied to homes where the annual rent is £52 or less (or £80 in London)".
The Housing Act 2004 introduced a new system for assessing housing conditions replacing the test of fitness for human habitation with regulations, The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (England) Regulations 2005, setting out various hazards matters and circumstances to be taken into account by local authorities when assessing housing conditions and enforcing housing standards.
-  Parliament's webpage on the Housing and Planning Bill
-  Official Record, House of Commons, 12 January 2016
-  House of Commons Briefing Paper on the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill - October 2015
Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.
What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.
What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.
What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.
|Party||Majority (No)||Minority (Aye)||Both||Turnout|
|Con||309 (+2 tell)||0||0||94.2%|
|Lab||0||205 (+2 tell)||0||89.2%|