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Government plans to improve safety in private rented sector

Health and safety standards for rental accommodation will be overhauled in a bid to keep private tenants safe.

Housing minister Heather Wheeler MP has announced a review of the current Housing Health and Safety Rating System which hasn’t been updated for 12 years.

The government is concerned that some private renters live in sub-standard homes with problems such as inadequate heating and damp.

Under current rules, councils are required to ensure rental properties in their area meet safety standards using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, and are able to force criminal landlords to take action where tenants are languishing in unsafe accommodation.

A review of this system will consider whether it should be updated and if so, to what extent. The review will also look at whether to introduce minimum standards for common health and safety problems in rental accommodation.

Wheeler says: “Everyone has a right to feel safe and secure in their own home. These reviews will allow us to revisit the current systems for health and safety ratings and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure that both are fit for purpose and meeting the needs of tenants.

“By looking again at these rules, we can make sure that they are working as they should to keep people safe and give them peace of mind in their homes.”

Ministers have also outlined further details of the review into carbon monoxide alarm requirements in the home, to help ensure people remain safe from this silent killer.

The news comes on the same day that the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill passed its third reading. The bill, put forward by Labour MP Karen Buck, will enable tenants to take direct action against landlords who don’t ensure their homes are fit for habitation.

In addition, the Tenant Fees bill, currently making its way through Parliament, will bring an end to unnecessary, costly fees imposed by landlords or property agents at the start, during, and at the end of a tenancy.

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