Local authorities already have enough power to tackle substandard property conditions in the private rental sector, the Housing Minister has insisted.
Alok Sharma, the Minister of State for Communities and Local Government, made the claim in response to a question from Labour MP Grahame Morris on whether local authorities will be granted the power to enforce acceptable standards on private property.
Morris asked Sharma whether councils would be given the authority to insist that landlords or homeowners maintain their properties to a satisfactory standard if its current condition is having a negative impact upon the local community.
The Housing Minister responded: “Local authorities already have strong powers to tackle poor property conditions.
“We encourage local authorities to take action where properties are neglected and their condition affects the amenity of an area. There are already extensive powers available to authorities, which range from notices under Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, which can deal with derelict land and buildings, to Section 29 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 for works on unoccupied buildings.”
He continued: “Council and housing association landlords are responsible for most repairs to their housing stock. Social landlords are obliged, by law, to maintain the structure and exterior of their properties.
“All properties in the social and private sectors must comply with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. Where a property has serious hazards that present a risk to health and safety, local authorities can carry out an assessment under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. If they are aware of a serious hazard, they are under a duty to take appropriate action to address it.”
Recently, a proposed bill to improve housing standards in the private rental sector was reintroduced into Parliament. The Residential Landlords Association spoke out in support of the plans.
Landlords, make sure that you provide safe, secure and comfortable housing for your tenants, and stick to the law on property standards.