Housing groups fear new bill fails to protect many vulnerable people

Housing groups and charities are calling on the government to
extend protections in the Housing Bill to vulnerable people in
multiple occupancy accommodation, writes William Little
and Sally Gillen

The national housing charity Shelter is concerned the bill,
currently at committee stage in the House of Lords, is not going
far enough to deal with health and safety standards in Housing in
Multiple Occupation (HMO), putting at risk vulnerable people living
in over 500,000 unregulated and unsafe properties.

Proposals require only HMOs with three or more storeys and five or
more occupants to be licensed, whereas Shelter and local
authorities have evidence many smaller properties are

Adam Sampson, director of Shelter, said: “The Housing Bill is an
opportunity to end the appalling conditions many extremely
vulnerable people living in.”

He called on the Government to introduce a “comprehensive
licensing system to tackle all the dangerous conditions that are
found in many bedsits and HMOs.

“The Bill, as it stands, will only protect some of the many
thousands of people whose lives are at risk because of failures in
these homes to meet basic health and safety

The National Housing Federation is also still fighting plans in the
bill to give grants to private house builders. It has argued that
the private sector “will not deliver sustainable
neighbourhoods” for communities.

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