OLDHAM West and Royton MP Jim McMahon has welcomed new Labour-sponsored legislation that will allow private tenants to take landlords to court if they are exposed to dangerous housing conditions such as severe mould, exposed wires or severe fire risks.

Labour MP Karen Buck’s Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act will mean that landlords will have to ensure that their properties are habitable and free from hazards at the start of and throughout the tenancy.

While the measures in this Act were rejected as “unnecessary” by the Conservative Government in 2016, Labour leaders claim pressure from them led to the Government caving in last year and accepting the need for the Act.

Across the country 700,000 private rented homes contain hazard that presents a severe risk to tenants’ health; from exposure to naked wires and fire hazards to excessive mould and damp. Cold, damp and dangerous housing conditions are estimated to cost the NHS a huge £2.5bn a year.

Big cuts to local authority funding have meant that local councils, which are currently responsible for preventing the occurrence of category one hazards in rental homes, don’t have the resources to properly enforce rules around housing standards.

From March 20 private tenants signing new and renewed tenancy agreements of less than seven years have the agency to tackle problems independently of local authorities and will be able to sue landlords who fail to keep properties up to habitable standards.

Mr McMahon, who is also Shadow Minister for Local Government and Finance, Jim McMahon said: “The complete failure by the Conservative Government to provide the decent and affordable homes we need in Oldham means that far too many renters in our area live in unacceptable and dangerous conditions.

“This long-awaited Labour legislation provides a critical safety net against the truly shocking conditions that some private renters are forced to put up with.

“And this is just the start of what we will be looking to accomplish while in Government, giving more power to tenants so that they cannot be exploited by Landlords who for too long have been allowed free run in our towns and cities.

“I’d urge anyone who feels their accommodation is unsafe or unhealthy to use these new powers to get the accommodation that everyone in one of the richest countries in the world should consider standard.“

Residents in Oldham will find this news welcoming as it will allow greater protections from rogue landlords and those reluctant to deal with their tenants issue.