Housing horror stories as MPs look to increase tenant rights


From damp to dodgy electrics, there's now more chance of being able to take your landlord to court if your home is classed as unsafe.

The government has backed the Homes Bill, which in future should give people much better legal protection.

In 2016, over one million homes in England were deemed unfit for human habitation, due to things such as infestations and broken boilers.

Newsbeat listeners have been sharing their housing horror stories.

Image caption,
Brendan Broadmead with his partner and young daughter

Brendan Broadmead, 22, told Newsbeat the bedroom in his rented flat had mould mites crawling over the bed.

"After visits to the council demanding they fix the damp problem, they are still yet to do anything," he says.

Brendan lives with his partner Chloe and two young daughters, aged two and three weeks.

He says the damp has made his asthma worse and his two-year-old daughter has developed breathing problems.

"The doctors issued numerous letters of health problems and they didn't do anything about it."

Image caption,
Newsbeat listener Lee Ford from Lincoln has to clean the damp from his windows every week

Chris Norris from the National Landlords Association says they support the bill.

"It doesn't impose any more requirements on landlords who are providing good quality rented homes, but crucially it does provide more avenues for tenants who have been badly served.

"It also empowers social tenants to take action when the council fails to meet its obligations."

Image caption,
Mould in Andrea's relative's flat

Andrea Collins, from Liverpool, was shocked to see the level of damp in a relative's home.

He'd lived in social housing and died from lung disease and pneumonia.

"We really need to make sure social housing is of an adequate standard," says Andrea.

Andrea is a respiratory consultant, and aware of how damp and mould can lead to health problems.

"I can't say it directly led to his illness, but living in these conditions when you have a respiratory illness is less than ideal."

Andrea had issues herself when in student accommodation in Bristol which led to her flatmate developing a mould allergy.

"We always just had to sort it out ourselves," she says.

Image caption,
Water damage on the floor of Elizabeth's home

After months of complaining to the housing association about her toilet, Elizabeth came home to find her north London home flooded.

"The dogs were climbing over each other to avoid the water," she says.

As a result, the damaged laminate flooring is a trip hazard for her young son.

"The maintenance is terrible, we also have a hole in the back of the boiler where mice were coming through and it still isn't fixed."

Although the Government's backed the Homes Bill, there are still a number of stages remaining before it can become law.

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