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Property Repairs: Recourse for Renters

Volume 746: debated on Monday 4 March 2024

16. Whether his Department is taking steps to ensure that there is appropriate recourse for renters if property repairs and safety concerns are not adequately dealt with by landlords. (901776)

Where landlords fail to keep their properties in an acceptable condition, local authorities can issue improvement notices and impose penalties for non-compliance. Social tenants can already access the housing ombudsman service, and the Renters (Reform) Bill will establish a new landlord ombudsman service so that private tenants can also seek free redress.

While these changes in legislation are welcome, it is clear that more must be done. Too many rental and leasehold residents in my constituency face ongoing issues in ensuring that landlords and freeholders face up to their responsibilities. Will the Minister work with me to ensure that my residents in precarious situations with unresponsive landlords or leaseholders are able to access the correct course of remedial action in a timely and effective manner?

I will indeed work with my hon. Friend to ensure that his residents, who he is such a brilliant champion for, can access redress. We are committed to protecting tenants from the minority of landlords and agents who provide a poor service. Where a property is managed by an agent, residents can seek redress through the property ombudsman or the property redress scheme, as well as the housing ombudsman for social tenants and the new ombudsman for private tenants. The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill will require freeholders who manage their property to join a redress scheme, too.

Too many children across the country are still being hospitalised because there is mould in their private rented homes. Repairs and concerns especially about mould are the subject of Awaab’s law, which is being brought in, but private landlords are being let off the hook. Will the Minister consider supporting my private Member’s Bill to extend Awaab’s law and ensure that private landlords fulfil their responsibilities to fix mould?

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for the time we have spent together discussing her private Member’s Bill. Through the Renters (Reform) Bill we are introducing a new decent homes standard for the private rented sector, which I believe covers the majority of her Bill, but I would be happy to continue those discussions with her further.