Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 – Landlord GuideMake Text Bigger
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 comes into force today 20th March 2019
The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government has released its official guide for landlords. Click here to view the full guide.
“The Act applies to the social and private rented sectors and makes it clear that landlords must ensure that their property, including any common parts of the building, is fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout.
To achieve that, landlords will need to make sure that their property is free of hazards which are so serious that the dwelling is not reasonably suitable for occupation in that condition. Most landlords take their responsibility seriously and do this already.
Where a landlord fails to do so, the tenant has the right to take action in the courts for breach of contract on the grounds that the property is unfit for human habitation. The remedies available to the tenant are an order by the court requiring the landlord to take action to reduce or remove the hazard, and or damages to compensate them for having to live in a property which was not fit for human habitation.
Criteria for Fitness for Human Habitation:
The courts will decide whether a property is fit for human habitation by considering the matters set out in section 10 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. These are whether:
- the building has been neglected and is in a bad condition
- the building is unstable
- there’s a serious problem with damp
- it has an unsafe layout
- there’s not enough natural light
- there’s not enough ventilation
- there is a problem with the supply of hot and cold water
- there are problems with the drainage or the lavatories
- it’s difficult to prepare and cook food or wash up
- or any of the 29 hazards set out in the Housing Health and Safety (England) Regulations 2005
It is for the courts to decide whether the dwelling is fit for human habitation. A Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) assessment is not necessary. However, a landlord might choose to carry out an assessment if they want to establish whether a serious health and safety hazard is present. Landlords of social housing may also have regard to the Decent Homes Standard.
The court may also make a decision on unfitness without expert advice. For example, if there were no plumbed sanitary conveniences in the property an expert opinion would not be necessary as the property would evidently be unfit.”
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