Further plans to protect tenant safety published

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have announced plans to further tighten health and safety standards for all rental accommodation.

According to the Ministry, these plans aim to tackle the small minority of rogue landlords who leave their properties in poor conditions and ignore minimum health and safety standards.

The first part of the announcement covers plans to ensure carbon monoxide rules are fit for purpose, with more stringent measures to protect people from carbon monoxide poisoning.

The plans, announced as Labour MP Karen Buck’s Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill was passed through the House of Commons, will ‘overhaul health and safety standards for rental accommodation’. Both the plans and the Bill aim to guarantee a better deal for renters who live in unsatisfactory conditions in the private rented sector.

Thankfully, the Ministry acknowledges that only a small percentage of landlords are responsible for poor standards, praising the private rented sector as an industry where “the vast majority of landlords are responsible owners who take great pride in the properties they lease to their tenants”.

While these plans show the Government are essentially relaunching the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), it still aims to reform the current rules, where councils are required to ensure rental properties in their area meet important safety standards using the HHSRS. It also means councils will able to force criminal landlords to take action where tenants are languishing in unsafe accommodation.

However, it is pleasing to see the Government committing to update the current system, which hasn’t been updated in over 12 years. In addition, the currently ongoing review 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 to keep renters safe.

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.

Housing Minister Heather Wheeler MP

As well as a review of the system and tighter safety standards, the Government are also taking action to ensure carbon monoxide rules are fit for purpose, protecting people from the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning.

According to the Government press release: "There are currently around 8 million carbon monoxide alarms in homes across England, with current rules stating that alarms must be fitted in privately rented homes with solid fuel appliances and when solid fuel stoves and boilers are installed.“The review will judge whether legislation goes far enough in keeping people safe from the risks of carbon monoxide in their homes, and whether there should be a blanket requirement to install alarms for other methods of heating, including gas and oil, and to social housing.

“Ministers will also consider new research including technological improvements and the falling costs of carbon monoxide alarms and whether this supports a case to extend requirements.”

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