More and more UK families are living in rented accommodation, and while plenty of that is high quality housing, some unscrupulous landlords are more than happy to have tenants living in slum conditions. According to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, 740,000 households in England live in privately rented homes that present a severe threat to tenants’ health. In total 16% of private rented accommodation was found to be physically unsafe. And people are paying £5.6bn a year to rent these properties, of which £1.3bn comes from taxpayers in the form of housing benefit.
At the moment it is very difficult for tenants to do anything about rogue landlords – a shortage of low cost accommodation makes it difficult to move house, and the legal options are complex and convoluted, not to mention out of reach to most individuals thanks to the new court fees. To help redress this, Labour MP Karen Buck proposed a bill which would require homes to be fit for human habitation. The response? Philip Davies, Tory MP and private landlord said that keeping a house fit for human occupation would be “a huge burden on landlords”.
Mr. Davies also said that “it is very difficult to keep tabs on all the things that are expected of you”. The Tory MP wants landlords to be able to invest their money in houses and simply take the profits from it without the troublesome burden of taking responsibility for providing a safe service. While other businesses should have an obligation to not put people in danger, ones that Tory MPs personally own should be exempt. Mwhahaha.