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Does The Way The Private Rented Sector Is Run Breach Any Human Rights Laws?

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Surely there must be a way of challenging so much in the sector?

For example how can the "Right to a Family Life" be compatible with landlords being able to evict with 2 months notice, relatiatory evictions, rent increases that put people into poverty, badly maintained properties that cause health problems. There must be some clever lawyer who could come up with some way of challenging the sector and making a name for himself?

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This seems like an excellent idea. However I fear that the UK is not too hot on human rights when they get in the way of business.

That's really not accurate. The correct analysis is that the UK is only hot on human rights when the supposed victim is a total scumbag. Normal people can go hang.

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Surely there must be a way of challenging so much in the sector?

For example how can the "Right to a Family Life" be compatible with landlords being able to evict with 2 months notice, relatiatory evictions, rent increases that put people into poverty, badly maintained properties that cause health problems. There must be some clever lawyer who could come up with some way of challenging the sector and making a name for himself?

I think there is substantial research already available - just need someone to pay attention to it. Shelter (despite their ludicrous stance on shared ownership being extended) are researching and lobbying strongly on the HR perspective - with Rowntree backing could possibly get noticed. Whether it's enough or not is any bodies guess.

Article 8 provides a right to respect for one's "private and family life, his home and his correspondence" - couple of other important ones...

Adequate housing is a human right, essential to human dignity, security and well-being . Article 25 (1) of the United Nations declaration states that…

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” Section (2) continues outlining that “motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.”

Adequate housing, according to the ComESCR is that ‘adequate’ housing includes more than just a roof over one’s head. Aspects of ‘adequacy’ include:

 Legal security of tenure.

 Availability of services, material, facilities and infrastructure.

 Affordability, in that housing costs should be in general commensurate with income levels.

 Habitability.

 Accessibility for all disadvantaged groups.

 Location that allows access to employment opportunities and other services and facilities.

 Cultural adequacy

This one is interesting, I think.

2.2.1 Article 2(1)

Article 2(1) requires States to progressively move forwards in the realisation of the full right to adequate housing for everyone using the maximum of its available resources.5 The most appropriate means of achieving the full realisation will vary significantly from one State Party to another.6 The duty of progressive realisation includes a duty not to take retrogressive measures.7 Measures employed by States may reflect whatever public/private mix is most suitable for the local context.8 Overall, the Committee has explicitly stated that, ‘the obligation is to demonstrate that, in aggregate, the measures being taken are sufficient to realise the right for every individual in the shortest possible time in accordance with the maximum of available resources

This research is NI based and has been used to try and influence housing decisions taken in NI. Not that this argument has had much bearing on the reality of the NI situation. A direct contravention of the Act has been the NIHE under spending on housing and returning funds, at a time when they are most needed. As far as housing is concerned HR do not seem to carry much (any) weight with the powers that be, they merely pay lip service.

http://www.law.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofLaw/Research/HumanRightsCentre/ResearchProjects/BudgetAnalysis/Documents/

It's from Queens research - PDF 5th on the list

.

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Surely there must be a way of challenging so much in the sector?

For example how can the "Right to a Family Life" be compatible with landlords being able to evict with 2 months notice, relatiatory evictions, rent increases that put people into poverty, badly maintained properties that cause health problems. There must be some clever lawyer who could come up with some way of challenging the sector and making a name for himself?

Funnily enough, the last rented flat I lived in had a "no pets, no kids" clause in the lease...

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That's really not accurate. The correct analysis is that the UK is only hot on human rights when the supposed victim is a total scumbag. Normal people can go hang.

I suspect the problem is that barristers are mostly interested in displaying their right-on credentials, in playing a form of one-upmanship, with other barristers.

They would much rather defend misunderstood terrorists, or at the very least, brown misunderstood foreigners, rather than ghastly oiks who rent little houses - where's the streetcred in that?

Think of Colin Firth as Barrister Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones Diary. How much less sexy would he be defending the human rights of awful working class people renting silly little houses rather than defending the heroic misunderstood brown foreigner who may be deported?

They don't exactly need the money, but they do want to display how much more righteous they are than their competitors. This is Britain after all, it nearly always come down to class.

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if the 'bedroom tax' (aka loss of benefit payments for spare rooms) is being alleged to be in contravention of HR laws - it would seem that private renting which already has theoretically the same 'bedroom tax' where LHA rates are determined by size of property (unless you are paying the rent yourself) - but has none of the plus points of social housing - i.e. security of tenure, lower rents, better maintenance. should be subject to HR too.

it is time the private rented sector was controlled in some way given that the landlords constantly bleat about what a 'service' they provide. Some control would flush out the 'rogue landlords and nouveau-rachmanns.

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if the 'bedroom tax' (aka loss of benefit payments for spare rooms) is being alleged to be in contravention of HR laws - it would seem that private renting which already has theoretically the same 'bedroom tax' where LHA rates are determined by size of property (unless you are paying the rent yourself) - but has none of the plus points of social housing - i.e. security of tenure, lower rents, better maintenance. should be subject to HR too.

it is time the private rented sector was controlled in some way given that the landlords constantly bleat about what a 'service' they provide. Some control would flush out the 'rogue landlords and nouveau-rachmanns.

+1

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if the 'bedroom tax' (aka loss of benefit payments for spare rooms) is being alleged to be in contravention of HR laws -

Sadly the box room size thing is going to hugely backfire on councils who may currently consider many families adequately housed.

Your rent book says how many bedrooms your property has.

The sizes are for overcrowding.

Not undercrowding.

If every person has a genuine right to a spare room or two then the whole housing system will implode very shortly as the housing benefit bill goes mad.

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Sadly the box room size thing is going to hugely backfire on councils who may currently consider many families adequately housed.

Your rent book says how many bedrooms your property has.

The sizes are for overcrowding.

Not undercrowding.

If every person has a genuine right to a spare room or two then the whole housing system will implode very shortly as the housing benefit bill goes mad.

Why should the HB bill go mad?

It's currently going mad as rents rise faster than wages, and push more workers into housing benefit dependency and in many cases rents are forced to rise above inflation by government decree.

If a '3-bed' house let to someody on HB with a rent of 1.1 X Target-rent is actually a 2-bed with a box room, then surely the rent should be 1.0 X T-rent, and reduced accordingly, along with housing benefit payments.

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Another problem are I see is this: There are little to no council housing available (because no have been built and they were sold off), so the government say you should find a private rental.

To rent privately you need a credit check from a private credit reference company.

If you have a poor credit history (may not even be your own fault) then you will not be able rent privately and there is no public housing available.

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This seems like an excellent idea. However I fear that the UK is not too hot on human rights when they get in the way of business.

Given that the ECHR only applies to state instiutions, and not private concerns, then your fears are real and enshrined in law. The only get out is when a private company is performing the duties of the state (eg group 4 contracted to run security at a magistrates court). It could be argued that a housing association is replacing the basic state requirement for providing accommodation, although equally it could be argued they aren't. All these lovely grey areas happily serve to keep The Eton debating society firmly aboard the gravy train.

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Liberty are using the fact that HB is an institutional payment - this case is specific to separated shared care parents. I don't know if anything has happened with it but maybe it will be received more favourably than the disability cases were.

Liberty is seeking a ruling that the relevant provision – Regulation B13 of the Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2012 – is incompatible with its clients’ and their children’s rights under Article 8 and/or Article 14 of the European Convention – and thus unlawful under section 6 of the Human Rights Act. The human rights group has written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, urging him to repeal the regulations or amend them accordingly.

The credit check for rental has to become an issue soon surely - I think it's a very important point.

http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/media/press/2013/liberty-bedroom-tax-breaches-right-to-family-life.php

edited to add link <_<

Edited by neontetra

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