The Home (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 came into force this week, Wednesday 20 March 2019.
This means that all domestic landlords (including any agents acting on their behalf) must ensure that all rented accommodation is fit for human habitation. The Act does not create any new obligations for landlords; the legislation requires landlords to ensure that they are meeting their existing responsibilities with regards to property standards and safety.
However, if the property is not fit for human habitation, the Act gives tenants additional power to take their landlord to court for breach of contract without having to rely on local authorities. If the Court finds in the tenant’s favour, landlords may be ordered to carry out improvements to the condition of the property and/or pay compensation to the tenant. There are currently no specified limits on the level of compensation that can be awarded.
The Act currently applies to:
- All new tenancies shorter than seven years, granted on or after 20 March 2019; and
- all tenancies renewed for a fixed term on or after 20 March 2019.
For any periodic tenancies with a start date prior to 20 March 2019, landlords will have a 12 month grace period until 20 March 2020 before they will need to comply.
As good practice, landlords should always rectify any problems they are responsible for, as soon as possible.
If you have any questions regarding the Act or your responsibilities as a landlord, please get in touch.
To view the guidance please see the government website.
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