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
    sub-standard.

    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
    regulations.”

    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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