Last year saw a new act passed that made it a legal requirement for all landlords to ensure their properties are fit for human habitation. Let’s take a look at this is more detail.
What does it mean?
The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 covers both the social sector and private sector landlords. It also covers tenants all the way through their tenancy agreement and property agents acting on behalf of landlords.
The purpose of the new act is to raise the living standard for those renting. The consequences of landlords not meeting the required standards mean that tenants can take them to court for breach of contract.
The number of people in their forties likely to be renting from a private landlord is double the number 10 years ago, making this new act relevant and timely.
What is covered?
Areas covered under the new act include any outstanding repairs that have the potential to cause harm, such as damp within the property. This also includes ensuring the ventilation and water supply are adequate and providing appropriate sanitary and drainage facilities. Clean and hygienic areas for preparing food must also be available to avoid any health hazard deemed to be a risk to the occupiers. Damage caused by natural disasters does not come under this new act.
To avoid costly repairs, tenants should have their appliances checked regularly by companies such as Gloucester boiler service specialist http://www.hprservicesltd.com/gloucester-boilers/boiler-service-gloucester/.
What isn’t covered?
Tenants are expected to take responsibility for the day to day maintenance, such as unblocking sinks, replacing light bulbs, keeping both the property and any outside space clean, reporting any issues and maintaining the property, such as ensuring there is circulation in bathrooms to prevent damp and mold.
When does the new act come into place?
Any agreement signed or renewed in England after 20 March 2019 will be bound by the new regulations.
Any issues not resolved within a reasonable time frame can result in legal action unless the property is covered by another legislation; for example, the property may be a listed building and certain work cannot be carried out.
The court has the power to force the landlord to put right the issues raised and pay compensation to their tenants