The Government has recently released a number of publications aimed at assisting the rental market. One of these was guides is entitled: Renting a Safe Home: A Guide for Tenants.
On initial reading, it seems that the guide will undoubtedly be useful for many tenants, but could leave some with a few questions.
Narratively, the style of the piece is, as one would expect, official and an accurate reflection of the law. However, if the Government wished to target more underprivileged tenants, perhaps a more user-friendly document could have been better.
Occasionally, the piece could benefit from some illustrations, particularly when speaking about specific hazards. It is obvious that the author is confident addressing the subject matter, but many readers may need further pictorial assistance.
For example, illustrations of a gas safety certificate, unsafe electrical sockets and smoke and carbon monoxide alarms would all aid the piece and assist some tenants. Furthermore, examples of, ‘inappropriate positioning of amenities,’ mentioned in the guide would have proved to be more useful.
The guide seems to be written in the expectation that revenge evictions will soon be a thing of the past, after the introduction of new legislation in the Deregulation Bill. With this said, the legislation will depend heavily on Environmental Health Officers being able to carry out assessments and subsequently serve improvement notices onto landlords.
With cuts to Local Authority funding, there is concern that many will not be able to provide an Environmental Health Officer to carry out the necessary assessments.
All in all, the guide is accurate and represents the law. This said, it remains to be seen how much it will help the number of tenants who are forced to live in unsafe homes.