Rogue landlords could face further measures to ensure they provide tenants with appropriate living conditions.
MP Karen Buck is leading a Private Members Bill to introduce new rights for renters to allow them to take legal action if they are forced to reside in homes unfit for human habitation.
The new powers could work alongside existing powers granted to local authorities to crack down on the small number of landlords who lease unsafe properties. At present, landlords can be fined up to £30,000 and from April, councils will be able to issue banning orders to repeat offenders.
“Everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live. Councils already have wide ranging powers to crack down on the minority of landlords who rent out unsafe and substandard accommodation,” said housing secretary Sajid Javid.
He added public safety is “paramount” and it is vital to protect tenants by giving them the right to take legal action.
The bill aims to ensure landlords must only rent out properties that are in an acceptable condition at the beginning of a tenancy and throughout. If they fail to do so, then they can be sued for breach of contract.
In the coming months, the government’s plans to compile a database of rogue landlords and property agents will go online, allowing potential tenants to check their landlord out before committing to a tenancy agreement.