Most landlords see their properties as an investment and take care of them accordingly, ensuring they provide a good place for tenants to live. Still, for those less scrupulous landlords, the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act holds them to account.
What is the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act, 2018?
This Act is designed to ensure that residential rented properties are “fit for human habitation”, meaning they are “safe, healthy and free from anything that could cause serious harm”. It came into force on 20 March 2019 and applies from the start and for the full duration of a tenancy.
Who does the act apply to?
The Act applies to tenants who live in England in social or privately rented properties, no matter the type of property, but only for tenancies shorter than seven years.
What does it mean for landlords?
Landlords who aren’t keeping their properties to the required standards will need to take action to meet these standards. If they don’t resolve issues in a reasonable time, tenants can take their landlord to court, which can make the landlord carry out the required repairs, resolve any health and safety issues or require the landlord to pay compensation to the tenant.
This means tenants no longer need to rely on their council to prosecute a landlord on their behalf.
What kind of issues are covered?
Several issues can lead to a property falling below standard, making it “not reasonably suitable for occupation in that condition”:
- Repairs have been neglected, and the property is in poor condition
- Serious damp issues
- The internal layout of the property isn’t safe for residents
- A lack of natural lighting
- Ventilation is insufficient
- There’s no proper supply of hot and cold water
- Drainage and sanitation don’t meet standards
- The property is structurally unstable
- A lack of facilities for preparing and cooking food and for the disposal of wastewater
- A hazard covered by the Housing Health and Safety (England) Regulations 2005 is present
What isn’t the landlord liable for?
This Act does not require a property to be kept in perfect condition; there will be wear and tear during a tenancy, but issues that make the property unfit for human habitation do need to be promptly addressed. Problems you aren’t responsible for as a landlord include:
- Defects caused by the tenant through their negligence or intentionally irresponsible behaviour
- Rebuilding a property if destroyed or damaged by fire, flood or storms
- Repairing a tenant’s personal property not included in the inventory
- Planned modifications for which planning permission is refused
Are you on top of your property maintenance?
Keeping on top of your property maintenance through regular checks ensures your property will always meet the required standards and remains a safe and pleasant living environment. When repairs or damage are left unattended, costs can quickly escalate, and the situation deteriorates.
Talking to No Letting Go about our range of property management services can help landlords and agents put in place the systems to care for their property, offering peace of mind all around.
No Letting Go.
If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your inventory partner, streamline your costs, reduce your workload and ensure that your rented properties remain safe and well-maintained, then contact No Letting Go today.
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