Tenants will be able to take legal action against landlords whose properties are 'unfit for human habitation'

Sajid Javid will today announce the Government's support for new legislation on housing 

Tenants will be able to take legal action against landlords whose properties are "unfit for human habitation", under a move revealed by the Housing Secretary today.

The Government will support legislation put forward by a Labour MP requiring that all landlords ensure that their property "is fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout".

Where landlords fail to meet their obligations, tenants will be able to take legal action for breach of contract, the Ministry of Housing said.

The measures are outlined in a private member's bill put forward in the Commons by Karen Buck, a London MP and former Labour minister.

Announcing his support for the bill, Sajid Javid, the Housing Secretary, said: “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.

“However, public safety is paramount and I am determined to do everything possible to protect tenants. That is why Government will support new legislation that requires all landlords to ensure properties are safe and give tenants the right to take legal action if landlords fail in their duties.”

The announcement comes after Theresa May said that housing will be one of the main focuses of her premiership.

Today the government also announces the details of a panel, chaired by Sir Oliver Letwin, the Conservative MP, examine the problem of large areas of land remaining undeveloped despite firms having permission to build on them.

The panel, which was instigated by Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, in last year's Budget, will include Lord Hutton of Furness, the former Labour business secretary, and Professor Christine Whitehead, emeritus professor of housing economics at the  London School of Economics.

Dominic Raab, the new housing minister, will chair a fortnightly meeting to oversee the group's work.

Sir Oliver said: “This Government is serious about finding ways to increase the speed of build out as well as tackling the complicated issues surrounding it."