Raising standards, working together, empowering tenants

Housing conditions must be improved in the UK – particularly in the private rented sector. With the consequences of poor housing costing the NHS at least £1.4bn per year, this is an economic as well as social imperative.

We’re campaigning to raise standards. Here’s how.

Why is it so important?

Substandard living conditions pose a serious threat to mental and physical health and safety for millions of people. The numbers of people – and most importantly children – living in the private rented sector continues to increase, yet this sector has the highest proportion of category 1 hazards, which pose a serious threat to health or safety of occupiers. Housing should be a safe haven not a risk.

Our members also continue to see 'revenge' evictions in response to tenant complaints, meaning that tenants are unwilling to come forward about poor conditions. 

What do we want to see?

  • Government policy that drives up housing standards and improves consistency between housing, planning and building regulations.
  • Review of retaliatory eviction legislation introduced in 2015  to ensure that it works well in practice to protect tenants. Amending Section 8 and removing use of Section 21, to ensure tenants are only evicted for legitimate reasons.
  • Local authorities allocating adequate resources to housing enforcement and local teams using a proactive approach to tackling hazards in the home
  • An update to the Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and its adoption in Northern Ireland.
  • Closer alignment between the environmental health departments and NHS teams.

We’re campaigning for change

We have been engaging with parliamentarians on the need for a national landlord register in England, to ensure that regulation of the private rented sector is more effective and coordinated.

We sat on the Government's project board overseeing research on the effectiveness of selective licensing schemes and their impact on housing conditions. We are now awaiting a Government decision on the recommendations.

We have called on the Government to update HHSRS. A review has now been announced and we continue to feed in our members’ views into this important update.

We are calling for higher housing standards across the board and have co-signed the Memorandum of Understanding for housing and health to encourage joint working to improve health through better housing.

We have supported Karen Buck MP’s private members' bill, which was implemented in March 2019 and gives tenants the power to take their landlords to court over unsafe conditions.

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