Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill receives Royal Assent

by Property 118

8:54 AM, 21st December 2018
About A year ago

Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill receives Royal Assent

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Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill receives Royal Assent

Karen Buck MP sponsored the Bill giving tenants the right to take legal action against Private and Social landlords if a property isn’t up to the standard of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) for breach of contract.

All landlords or agents acting on their behalf must ensure that a rental property is fit for human habitation at the beginning and throughout the duration of the tenancy.

The third reading and final chance for the Lords to change the Bill took place on 19 December and no amendments were made. As both Houses have agreed on the text of the Bill passed for Royal Assent on the 20 December and comes into force in three months for new and renewed tenancies in England from this date. New and renewed periodic and secure tenancies will be under the new rules in 12 months.

Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018: Click Here

(1)In a lease to which this section applies of a dwelling in England (see section 9B), there is implied a covenant by the lessor that the dwelling—

(a)is fit for human habitation at the time the lease is granted or otherwise created or, if later, at the beginning of the term of the lease, and

(b)will remain fit for human habitation during the term of the lease.

(2)The implied covenant is not to be taken as requiring the lessor—

(a)to carry out works or repairs for which the lessee is liable by virtue of—

(i)the duty of the lessee to use the premises in a tenant-like manner, or

(ii)an express covenant of the lessee of substantially the same effect as that duty;

(b)to rebuild or reinstate the dwelling in the case of destruction or damage by fire, storm, flood or other inevitable accident;

(c)to keep in repair or maintain anything which the lessee is entitled to remove from the dwelling;

(d)to carry out works or repairs which, if carried out, would put the lessor in breach of any obligation imposed by any enactment (whenever passed or made);

(e)to carry out works or repairs requiring the consent of a superior landlord or other third party in circumstances where consent has not been obtained following reasonable endeavours to obtain it.

(3)The implied covenant is also not to be taken as imposing on the lessor any liability in respect of the dwelling being unfit for human habitation if the unfitness is wholly or mainly attributable to—

(a)the lessee’s own breach of covenant, or

(b)disrepair which the lessor is not obliged to make good because of an exclusion or modification under section 12 (power of county court to authorise exclusions or modifications in leases in respect of repairing obligations under section 11).

(4)Any provision of a lease or of any agreement relating to a lease (whether made before or after the grant or creation of the lease) is void to the extent that it purports—

(a)to exclude or limit the obligations of the lessor under the implied covenant, or

(b)to authorise any forfeiture or impose on the lessee any penalty, disability or obligation in the event of the lessee enforcing or relying upon those obligations.

(5)Where in any proceedings before a court it is alleged that a lessor is in breach of an obligation under the implied covenant, the court may order specific performance of the obligation (regardless of any equitable rule restricting the scope of that remedy).

(6)Where a lease to which this section applies of a dwelling in England forms part only of a building, the implied covenant has effect as if the reference to the dwelling in subsection (1) included a reference to any common parts of the building in which the lessor has an estate or interest.

(7)In a lease to which this section applies of a dwelling in England, there is also implied a covenant by the lessee that the lessor, or a person authorised in writing by the lessor, may enter the dwelling for the purpose of viewing its condition and state of repair.

(8)The covenant implied by subsection (7) requires entry to the dwelling to be permitted—

(a)only at reasonable times of the day, and

(b)only if at least 24 hours’ notice in writing has been given to the occupier of the dwelling.

(9)In this section—

“common parts” has the meaning given by section 60(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987;

“lease” does not include a mortgage term;

“lessee” means the person for the time being entitled to the term of a lease;

“lessor” means the person for the time being entitled to the reversion expectant on a lease.

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.”

When royal assent has been given, an announcement is made in both Houses – by the Lord Speaker in the Lords and the Speaker in the Commons.

At prorogation (the formal end to a parliamentary session), Black Rod interrupts the proceedings of the Commons and summons MPs to the Lords chamber to hear the Lords commissioners announce royal assent for the bills passed towards the end of the session which had not received royal assent earlier in the year.

The legislation within the bill may come into effect immediately, after a set period or only after a commencement order by a government minister.A commencement order is designed to bring into force the whole or part of an Act of Parliament at a date later than the date of the royal assent.

If there is no commencement order, the Act will come into force from midnight at the start of the day of the royal assent. The practical implementation of an Act is the responsibility of the appropriate government department, not Parliament.



Comments

tony jackson

9:31 AM, 21st December 2018
About A year ago

So in principle yes it should help sort out criminal landlords. But here is one for any solicitors reading this, as I dont speak legalese. What happens if the tenant refuses access to do a yearly inspection? Is now a decent and fit landlord also open to prosecution if the tenant is being obstructive, and can be proven by way of emails or txt said tenants is not allowing the landlord access ????

Rod

11:10 AM, 21st December 2018
About A year ago

We 'ALL' write/email direct to her at Parliament as I do to many! Just days ago I emailed James Brokenshire 'housing minister' suggesting tenants should be 'made' to give a forwarding address as many disappear leaving a trail of unpaid bills and mess. M.P.s seldom reply as they wont put much in writing! People 'never like their own medicine' so therefore 'hound' them for a change, they'll soon get fed up. I always state " I rent out at £85pw but after loans, exp's, income tax etc I'm left with around £45pw only, not much! Many don't see that side".

Rob Crawford

13:09 PM, 21st December 2018
About A year ago

Ref 8(B) - why has the expression "lessee" used throughout the rest of the Bill, suddenly changed to "occupier"? What are the legal implications of this?

John Walker

13:28 PM, 21st December 2018
About A year ago

I shall be pleased to hear how many tenants are taking LAs, HAs, etc. to court. Maybe this is a beginning of a level playing field for the PRS.

Mike

15:40 PM, 21st December 2018
About A year ago

it will also be hard to prove that any damage or deterioration, or condition of a property has been caused by way of tenants life style or habits, such as drying clothes on radiators, not putting the heat on cause of heating bills, allowing condensation to form and cause mould.

I could prove this this as I had an empty property for 10 years and there was not a single patch of damp anywhere, suddenly tenants have gone in and now there are patches in some places because if you put furniture close to walls, and not allow air to circulate behind it, the walls are solid built bricks and cause damp patches to appear and start getting mouldy.

When tenants want to sleep 3 to a room, when the room is designed for 1, do we go around sticking our nose in and tell tenants that they can't sleep 3 to a room designed for 1, once they rent from you, you are out of it and it is then up to them how they want to sleep to any room, and we cannot dictate them after agreements are signed.

And what if a tenant wrecks a place on purpose and it cannot be proven that the damage was caused directly by a tenant's actions.

I have a tenant who used ti and probably still does, fills up a bath tub with pure hot water tap (not mixed with cold water) he will then close the bathroom door and after a short while the bath extractor fan also stops, as it is a standard extractor fan and has no humidity sensor fitted, so he will then give it half an hour before he jumps in, he goes out to the garden and have his beer and a few cigarettes, by the time he jumps in, the bathroom is soaking wet and drenching with a thick layer of condensation and streams of water running down the wall ans dripping from the ceiling! needless to say I was forced to act to stop him doing this, because his actions were causing serious damage to my bathroom, the ceiling started go mouldy, and smell of damp could be smelled lingering on. Sure this law would really help! It would go a long way to reduce homelessness, sure! what load of .............

Annie Landlord

18:00 PM, 21st December 2018
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by tony jackson at 21/12/2018 - 09:31
My EPCs all came up for renewal two weeks ago. One tenant has simply refused access until January, even though I have told them its a legal requirement. I guess now whenever a tenant refuses access we need to write to them formally to list when and how we have previously contacted or tried to contact them, and a summary of the conversation.

Annie Landlord

18:03 PM, 21st December 2018
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by John Walker at 21/12/2018 - 13:28
When Karen Buck opened a facebook page to ask people for examples of issues with their properties, more than half of the first posts were complaints against social landlords, and almost all, as I recall, were about disrepair. So yes, I can see some social landlords being tied in knots by the new bill. Then again, they will just blame 'Tory Cuts'.

Michael Holmes

0:28 AM, 22nd December 2018
About A year ago

The Government getting in the way again! Anti-landlord legislation in effect, gives another stick to beat the PRS over the head with. Get out of it ASAP. The game is no longer worth the candle. We are going the same way as small care homes, which are still closing at a phenomenal rate.

Chris Baker

14:19 PM, 22nd December 2018
About A year ago

For those who think their places are all good and will they will never suffer from this law, good for you, I sincerely hope that I am also not effected.

The problem for all the good intentions of this bill is that it is open to a nightmare scenario for all landlords, it will give legal support and massive reward potential to criminals: why rob a bank, the landlord will be a soft target, with little to no defence, the reward to the criminal is potentially 30k and if they fail there will be criminal risk what so ever to them.

No win no fee solicitors will be all over this.

I make my places are lovely at the beginning of a tenancy, I’ve had properties for years with different tenant over the time, (a bit like Mike 15:40 21.12.18) then one tenant comes along turns it into a shyt hole in 3 months.

I could state here how to create mould to grow covering the entire room carpets walls ceilings it’s very easy and it doesn’t take many weeks, on the other hand, in normal circumstances mould is very easy to eliminate, see note at the end, despite the ability to eliminate such issues as mould, if a tenant is purposely creating and encouraging the grow of mould, and then not allowing you, or making it difficult for you to get access to cure the issue you will be seen as a bastard landlord and one that should be punished to the full extent, you greedy leech of a monster feeding of those poor unfortunates shame on you!

This will positively encourage a criminal aspect to set out and intentionally cause a property to be classed as uninhabitable and not fit, tenants are literately behind closed doors, out of sight, no landlord has any rights to enter even if 24 hour’s notice is given, the tenants only has to say no, any landlord who still enters are putting a rope around their own neck.

For me it means actively weeding out and act quickly to give notice to any existing tenant who have shown signs of negativity towards me or my agents. The notice needs to be given prior to any written reports from the tenant regarding any issue. As once they have written a claim that something is wrong the right to give them notice will be gone for months, in the meantime the landlord is at their mercy. The key will be to act quickly, it maybe that the tenants never take the issue further but if they the potential risk is just too much.

Now all my new tenants will have to be proven back grounds. I will no longer feel charitable towards young or those who have had a rough time of times of things.

Thankfully I do have some very good tenants, three have shown signs of not being so good, two are already under notice, I hope I am not going to get problems this is just another very unnecessary interference on top of all the other shyt hitting Private sector residential landlords.

I am most definitely looking at alternative property investments that do not involve residential tenants.

Mould: Top Tip Even without ventilation and heating, anywhere with mould issues:
1, Dettol Mould and mildew remover, to kill mould and remove the staining.
¬2, Zinsser anti-mould paint on all areas where mould may grow. (good only until its painted over with standard paint)
Both are Tried and Tested over many years.
The Dettol product stinks, it will wreck clothes and may disclour exsisting paint work, its best done when the tenant is away, the paint is double the cost of standard but worth every penny. Zinsser do loads of specialised paints I have developed application methods that suit them, the results are faster and last lasting.

We will see who gets to say what behaviour a tenant like manner is!

Chris

Smithy @hotmail

12:24 PM, 24th December 2018
About A year ago

To get rid of mould like magic I recommend 'Muffycid'. Just spray it on and after 10 minutes or so the mould is gone.
Smells unpleasant so you need to ventilate. Read the instructions.
Available from Amazon or Ebay.

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