Landlords in England are now subject to even further legislation aimed to improve the standard of rented residential accommodation. The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 came into force on 20 March 2019. The Act amends the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 requiring rented residential accommodation is provided and maintained in a state of “fitness for human habitation”. The consequence of which is it provides tenants an alternative process to request repair and improvement works to be undertaken. Should the landlord, or a landlords managing agent, not undertake the works and the accommodation remains unfit for human habitation it can result in the tenant issuing legal proceedings without needing to contact their local authority first.
The Act uses the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to determine the accommodations fitness. This is done using the 29 hazards identified by the HHSRS which include but are not limited to:
The accommodation only needs to be defective on one of the 29 hazards to be deemed unfit. The landlord will not be responsible:
The act is applicable to all tenancies which provide accommodation unless they have a fixed term of 7 years or more. Periodic tenancies in existence on 20 March 2019 will be covered by the provisions of the Act but benefit from a 12 month grace period restricting tenants from issuing court proceedings until 20 March 2020. A Farm Business Tenancy that is continuing annually (but not under a new agreement) after a 7-year term has expired it will still be exempt.Contact Us