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Government announces plans to tighten up tenant safety

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On Friday (26th October), the Government announced plans that will overhaul health and safety standards for rental accommodation, giving renters greater protection.

While the vast majority of landlords are responsible owners, some private renters live in sub-standard homes with problems such as inadequate heating and damp.

The move will crack down on the small minority of rogue landlords who turn a blind-eye to dangerous conditions – including the possibility of minimum health and safety standards. 

Housing Minister Heather Wheeler MP said: “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”.

Under the current system – which hasn’t been updated in over 12 years - councils are required to ensure rental properties in their area meet key safety standards using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System*. They are able to force criminal landlords to take action where tenants are living in unsafe accommodation. 

The review of the system will consider whether it should be updated and if so, to what extent. It will also look at whether to introduce minimum standards for common health and safety problems in rental accommodation.

*The Housing Health and Safety Rating System is used by local authorities to assess health and safety in residential properties – this includes both private rental properties and council and housing association properties.