Lack of Justice in Housing – Fitness for Human Habitation Act

by Readers Question

11:46 AM, 18th February 2019
About 6 months ago

Lack of Justice in Housing – Fitness for Human Habitation Act

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Lack of Justice in Housing – Fitness for Human Habitation Act

Letter to Gareth Johnson Member of Parliament for Dartford:

I refer to the recently enacted Fitness for Human Habitation Act. Raised in parliament by vociferous tenant campaigner, MP Karen Buck, the title of the bill as it initially was, ‘Fitness for Human Habitation’ was a strategic ‘check-mate.

How could anyone, MP from whatever party, or even Landlord Organisations object to a law, which read in reverse, prevents houses that are NOT fit for ‘human’ habitation to be permissible.

There was no such objection, and the reasonably short 5 page Act of parliament was drafted pro-bono by a legal-aid practising solicitor. The first 4 pages of legalise is pretty inconsequential until the last page actually qualifies what will come within the Acts provisions. A residence unfit for human habitation will actually be any defect that qualifies for the less serious HHSRS category 2 hazard.

An example could be condensation, or mildew, which are known as usually being due to occupant lifestyle (drying clothes on radiators, not ventilating after cooking or showering etc.)

The minority of bad tenants will find themselves subject to a lengthy and expensive court eviction process by the landlord. Tenant will then approach a legal aid solicitor who will commence a damages claim against the landlord. The damages claim, legal costs paid by the tax-payer, will take considerably longer that a possession claim and due to such connected legal action, the possession claim will be adjourned until the claim for damages trial takes place.

Faults or repairs required in the property will now be adjudicated upon by expensive court processes and a judge in place of the Local Authority who are experienced in HHSRS and who should be doing such. The process is going to be many times more expensive for the tax -payer, and landlord.

If a landlord is breaching  Housing regulations, shouldn’t the already ample Civil Penalties under the Housing Act of up to £30k per breach (with the proceeds going to fund the L.A for their time and further enforcement work) be utilised?  Instead, it seems yet a further piece of legislation is enacted that puts civil damages into the tenants pockets for what is a breach of Housing Regulations.

It would follow then that the HHSRS is redundant?

There is already Retaliatory eviction legislation and the Unfitness Act [sic] will create a ‘Retaliatory Defense’  for savvy tenants who  ‘play the system’.  Buck and the labour party have made no secret of their support for Legal Aid to be available for ALL tenant legal action.  I wonder if she is so enthusiastic for her tenant constituents that she’d like to stand as a Guarantor for their tenancies and rent? No perhaps not. Neither will all the other tenant support groups.  ‘Money where their mouth is’, comes to mind.

Possession Friend



Comments

Gary Nock

9:05 AM, 19th February 2019
About 6 months ago

This anti- landlord legislation will reduce further the number of rental properties as landlords pull out of the market. As the above says condensation and mildew will become a hazard, and 99.99% of the time down to tenant lifestyle. Had a gas centrally heated property with double glazing full of mould and tenant complained. Proved by me through instruments and an independent survey that it was lifestyle. Tenant was drying all her clothing and that for her three kids in the house. Heating set at 17 degrees and no windows open. So now they can sue the landlord. What have we got to do offer free heating as well?

Seething Landlord

10:04 AM, 19th February 2019
About 6 months ago

The landlord will not be liable for hazards caused by the tenant but in any event it's now far too late to start complaining about this legislation.

Mike

11:00 AM, 19th February 2019
About 6 months ago

I am also considering selling or keeping my property empty or move in a relative if one cannot keep a property empty, no longer am I prepared to face tougher challenges to comply with endless housing legislation, we are landlords not flippin lawyers, do we first have to take up a course in law degree before we become landlords, suppose if we don't want the middle man taking 10% to 15% of our income plus VAT. On top of that we then have to pay Income Tax.

I was shocked by a recent possession claim where a rouge tenant was given a free Duty Solicitor who then picked out minor discrepancies in my claim form and in Particulars of claim, where I did not specify under which ground I was seeking possession even though it is quite obvious to anyone that when rent is two months or more in arrears, it falls under Ground 8 rule. Every word you write needs to be a legal term, this tax payer funded solicitor is hacking his own branch of the tree on which he is practicing law, by helping rouge tenants who we take them to court for justice, when they are not paying us rent for months, when they don't pay us we don't earn enough to pay any taxes, when we don't pay taxes these duty solicitors will still need paying hefty salaries from the tax payers funds that could otherwise be used to provide decent low cost social housing.

There is so much wrong with our housing law, MPs do not think before passing laws of the long term repercussions of their ill thought policies, instead of taking the minority of the rouge landlords to court under many existing laws, they create new more stricter laws for everyone to comply with and those landlords who tip over slightly are heavily penalised as rouge landlords, our justice system is not perfect either as result of ill thought policies of a our MPs who are there to favour voters rather than offer true justice.

A landlords not getting paid rents are the victims and not the tenants, who blatantly refuse to pay rent because they know how to exploit housing rules which weigh heavily against landlords, and commit a deliberate problem to sue their landlords to seek componsation, it is nothing short of a fraud.

I do not think MPs sleep at night and are always thinking of what next they can legislate to make our lives even more screwed up. It is time MPs screwed tenants if they also want our votes.

Mike

11:19 AM, 19th February 2019
About 6 months ago

Here is what my HMO tenant does, and why i want him out, his rent includes all the bills and council tax, he opens only the hot water tap and starts filling up the bath tub until it is almost an inch below the over flow outlet, when the hot water is almost 50-55 degrees very hot to jump straight in, he closes the bathroom door and turns the light switch off as well, which after 20minutes switches the extractor fan off, goes out to the garden and opens a can of Tenants 9% alcohol beer and lights up a cigarette and after about half an hour the tub is ready to jump in, by which time all bathroom walls and ceiling is drenching in thick layer of condensation, dripping down from the ceiling like rain drops, and streams of water running along the tiles, mirrors heavily steamed up.
Within a month of renovating my bathroom the ceiling started to get mould growth, and started to spread all along the ceiling, when he was asked to stop doing this, he looked into my eyes with piercing anger, who am I to tell him what not to do? that was his attitude, of course he pays me rent when he has some change left over after consuming 3 to 4 cans of beers a day he might pay me some rent.

My rent is least important to him, I have always helped my good tenants, many I have loaned interest free money to buy their own houses to raise deposit, one good former tenant now owns two properties and has become a landlord himself, but some abuser tenants I would not lend a penny.

Further more other tenants in this HMO have complained of his attitude and arrogance, dominating over others, and others having to wait long before he comes out of the bathroom.

Seething Landlord

12:04 PM, 19th February 2019
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 19/02/2019 - 11:00
If you do not understand the law or how to properly complete legal documents the obvious answer is to employ a lawyer to advise and do it for you.

Mike

23:21 PM, 19th February 2019
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 19/02/2019 - 12:04Indeed the obvious answer is FUNDING. If money was not the objective that would be the route to take, when tenants have not paid rent for months, funding is not available, then one must use second best option that is Do it yourself, (DIY)
Funding has always plagued humans, if it was not a problem, we would not have shortage of social and affordable housing, there wouldn't be years of waiting for social housing. I am afraid filling simple forms could be done by an average person but problem is the law, it needs to change to allow for minor discrepancies if the words used are not exact legal terms.
There are people who will always want to make others life harder.

so for instance I have filed a possession claim for tenants failing to pay rent for over two months, it is quite obvious at least to the legal professionals that it is being filed under the housing act 1988 section 8 and on ground 8.
They are the ones who rejected my particulars of claim.

Seething Landlord

0:31 AM, 20th February 2019
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 19/02/2019 - 23:21
I suspect that the amount you have lost through "doing it yourself" is more than it would have cost to engage a solicitor in the first place. Failing to specify the grounds on which the claim is brought is hardly a "minor discrepancy" and the defendant is entitled to take advantage of any mistakes that you have made. Recent reports have shown that mistakes or omissions by DIY landlords are a major reason for possession claims being rejected.


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