I’m very pleased that The Labour Party's Fitness for Human Habitation Bill passed its second reading in parliament today. This is an issue that many of my constituents have let me know they feel strongly about, so I attended the debate to vote in favour and make a contribution - which you can watch in THIS VIDEO.
I spoke about how Norwich’s Labour-led City Council has 15,000 properties and not a single one holds a category 1 hazard rating. In contast, the private rental sector in Norwich has 3,000 properties with a category 1 rating. I’m proud of Norwich City Council’s commitment to maintaining housing standards, but it’s a shame not all local authorities have such a strong track record: my Labour colleague Rosie Duffield MP had just outlined the dire conditions of some properties controlled by Tory-led Canterbury Council in her constituency.
The passing of this Bill is a huge moment for long-suffering tenants wrestling with inactive landlords who have failed to carry out repairs on their properties. If signed into law, tenants will have the ability to take neglectful landlords to court if they consider their home to be unsafe. My recent survey of renters in Norwich South highlighted the appalling conditions many in our city have had to put up with, as did meeting with Shelter in Norwich to look through some of the cases they’ve dealt with: including sewage spouting into people’s gardens, blood stained beds and rat infestations. See for yourself here: https://goo.gl/hiEcHt. This legilsation could be life-changing for people living in such horrendous environments if the Bill ultimately passes.
Thank you to everyone who got in touch with me about this vital debate: by email, via. a Shelter campaign card or by filling in my housing survey. I’ll continue to keep an eye on this issue and will always fight to make sure renters in Norwich, and beyond, get a fair deal from landlords.