Mould on the walls can stay, according to the government
The Housing and Planning Bill is a contentious subject in parliament at the moment.
The Tories and Labour are at war over various aspects of the bill, including the redefining “affordable housing” to include homes up to £450,000 and handing local planning over to private companies.
The bill became even more contentious yesterday when the government voted down plans to make landlords responsible for providing homes that are fit to live in.
Shadow housing minister Teresa Pearce argued that no other consumer areas would allow people to pay for low quality products.
She asked: “Where else in modern day life could someone get away with this?
“If I purchased food from a shop and it was unsafe to eat I would not only get a refund but there is a high possibility the shopkeeper could be prosecuted.
“Yet if I rent from a landlord, perhaps the only available property for me, and it was unsafe to live in then I can either put up or shut up.”
She added: “Many landlords go out of their way to ensure that even the slightest safety hazard is sorted quickly and efficiently.
“So it is even more distressing when we see reports of homes which are frankly unfit for human habitation being let, often at obscene prices.”
Despite the controversy, the government chose to vote down the rules.
Local Government minister Marcus Jones said the measures “would result in unnecessary regulation and cost to landlords which would deter further investment and push up rents for tenants”.
He said: “Of course we believe that all homes should be of a decent standard and all tenants should have a safe place to live regardless of tenure, but local authorities already have strong and effective powers to deal with poor quality and safe accommodation and we expect them to use them.”