We’ve been keeping our eyes on the health and safety industry recently and parliament has already passed a number of bills this year. However, many more are still in the pipeline and a proposed new landlord health & safety bill came to our attention this week. Indeed, MPs are set to debate a bill which would make it easier for tenants to force their landlords into fixing health & safety hazards in a property. On the surface, it sounds like a great idea so we’ve had a look at the proposed bill in more detail.
Landlord Health & Safety Obligations
The original document was put forward on the 19th of January in parliament but it is set to be discussed again over the next few weeks. The proposed legislation would allow social tenants to claim more support from their landlords with regards to health and safety issues. The public housing sector would also be affected meaning that tenants could take action against councils and housing associations as well. This would involve the landlord being legally obligated to rectify any issues within a building that could prove hazardous for tenants.
The proposed bill would further force landlords to fix problems in their buildings as well as make adjustments to the flats or houses themselves. Of course, recent events have brought a tenants’ lack of legal options to the table and many groups have expressed concerns about the lack of power for tenants who may be living in unsafe buildings, flats our houses. The bill is currently being drafted and there is very little to suggest that it won’t be passed in parliament.
Setting a Standard
With private tenants, there is the argument that tenants can take action. For landlord health & safety issues, the local authority can take action on behalf of the individual if a hazard is found. However, practice varies between jurisdictions and this is enormously variable depending on the local authority in charge where you live. Often, local authorities offer housing for many people but they cannot technically take action against themselves and for housing associations, the council can step in although this is rare.
Currently, there is Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act (1985) however this currently only covers disrepair. The new proposed changes would back up this legislation with new rules and regulations for landlords to follow. This could bring landlord health & safety up to speed by giving landlords more obligations than before. We can certainly see it passing and as advocates for health & safety, we really hope that it does just that. We will certainly keep an eye on this development and bring you more news as we get it.