A safe home is a basic right for everyone in Britain.
It is perhaps another sign of just how bad things have become in 2016 Britain when there hasn’t been widespread anger over the fact that Tory MPs rallied together this week to vote against the introduction of new rules designed simply to ensure every landlord has to provide a home that is fit for human habitation.
Whilst the vast majority of private landlords are decent, there is a clear case for stronger laws to ensure tenants have the power to act against unscrupulous and exploitative landlords – landlords who act without regard and think they can get away with renting out unsafe properties that expose tenants and their children to danger.
As UK citizens we are quite right to feel proud of our society’s standards. The mainstay of this pride is derived from our belief that in a civilised society a safe home is a basic right, not a luxury. Equally we expect our laws to be effective and capable of taking to task any citizen who exploits and wilfully endangers the safety of others.
Research by the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) shows that 84% of Britain’s renters are well-served but that still leaves an unacceptably high number of private renters that the CAB define as living in unsafe accommodation.
Despite the high cost of renting there are thousands of tenants across the private rental sector who are forced to live in homes that are frankly endangering their health. We therefore need new legislation to give tenants living in substandard accommodation the power to force their landlords carry out improvements.
Governments are elected to serve the people, not the privileged few. Many people already view our political class as being “permanently out of touch” and having nothing in common with the struggles of everyday folk. This opinion is hardly likely to be challenged when a simple law designed to give maltreated tenants, who are already paying sky high rents, some much needed power is voted down because our government can be bought off by a powerful ‘landlord lobby’.
The government of David Cameron, which is drawn almost exclusively from a group of people who were born into near unimaginable privilege, wealth and advantage, is dreadfully failing ordinary people. The jaw-dropping arrogance of these aristocratic politicians clearly shows why we desperately need a government that will stand on the side of ordinary people.
We all like to think we are decent people who care about the plight of others. If this is true, why are we accepting the fact that in modern Britain we have 16% of private renters living in accommodation that is deemed as “unfit for human habitation”?