Thu 31 Jan 2019
Put forward by Labour MP Karen Buck, the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill is an amendment to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, and gives powers for tenants to sue landlords who fail to adequately maintain their properties. From 20th March 2019, Courts will have authority to order landlords to carry out repairs and will also be able to award damages to tenants.
The new law is designed to prevent tenants having to put up with unsafe or unsanitary conditions, such as damp, poor ventilation, lack of natural light and blocked drains. Of course this is surely a positive step, and most proactive landlords don’t have anything to worry about.
The Bill is using the 29 hazards listed in the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to help define the categories that determine whether a house is “fit for human habitation”. The list had originally been created in 2006 to help local authorities enforce conditions in the private rented sector, but is now a list that lettings agents, property managers and landlords also need to be aware of as far as the safety and fitness for human habitation of their properties are concerned. Follow this link for the full list:
Each hazard is assessed separately and can be classed as either Category 1 (serious risk) or Category 2 (less serious).
David Cox, Chief Executive ARLA Propertymark said: “We’re pleased the Bill has now received Royal Assent after a swift passage through Parliament. These new rules will give renters greater protection against criminal operators and it is a step in the right direction for the market.
“We congratulate Karen Buck MP on her work and we look forward to continuing to work with her to achieve better enforcement against those who bring the sector into disrepute.”
If you have any questions or queries about this new Act, please contact our Lettings Team on 01480 218200
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