This week in Parliament I presented a petition urging the Government to introduce the Decent Homes Standard in the private rented sector across England.

The Decent Homes Standard sets minimum standards for the condition of social homes. According to the Standard, a decent home must be in reasonable repair; meet current legal housing standards and have reasonably modern facilities and services. Though the Government has committed to including private renters into the Standard, I am concerned by the lack of action on standards in the private rented sector. This inaction has left many of my constituents who rent privately continuing to live in unsafe and hazardous conditions in their own homes.

The crisis in the private rented sector is ever-growing, with a third of private homes in the North West failing to meet the Decent Homes Standard. Many of my constituents are suffering from hazards such a damp and mould. Not only does this violate tenants rights, but it is causing a huge health crisis amongst private renters who are reporting feeling physically sick from the effect of prolonged exposure to damp and mould. Such hazards in private rented homes are currently estimated to have an annual cost to the NHS of £290 million. 

The death of two year-old Awaab Ishak in Rochdale is just one such case of this growing issue leading to tragedy if left untreated. While it is promising that the Government has now introduced ‘Awaab’s Law’ which obliges social housing landlords to make emergency repairs and investigate hazards immediately, these rights must be extended to private tenants immediately.

It is morally reprehensible that the Tories recognise the sheer scale of the problem but don’t care enough about private tenants to do anything about it. We cannot have another Awaab Ishwak.

You can watch me present my petition here or read the full text on Hansard here.

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