Fitness for Habitation…New Rights for Tenants

18 January 2019

 The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 comes into force on 20th March 2019.

This important new law will change the lives of both social housing and private rental tenants dramatically as they will now be able to take action against their Landlord if their home is not considered fit for them to live in.

The new Act amends the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 and now forces a Landlord to make sure that the Tenant’s Property is fit for them to live in from the beginning of their tenancy and for as long as the Tenant lives there. This includes getting rid of any hazards that are present at the Property, including common areas in the case of flats, which pose a risk to the health, safety and wellbeing of the Tenant. If the Landlord fails to do so, the tenant can bring a claim to make the Landlord carry out works and for compensation.

Tenants can take action against hazards like:

 condensation mould/damp caused by the building’s design defects;

 inadequate or no heating;

 inadequate or no cooking facilities in the Property;

 problems with drains and sanitation;

 infestations of mice or bugs;

 issues with the Property’s water supply; and

 fire risks where the council won’t or can’t.

This new law will mean that Tenants now have more protection to stop them from being allowed to live in unacceptable conditions and that they can take legal action against their Landlord if they do nothing about it when they would previously not have been able to do so.

Unfortunately, the Act won’t apply to all tenancies straightaway BUT by 20th March 2020 most tenants should be afforded the protection that the Act provides.

However, Tenants need to be aware that, as well as some other exceptions, the Landlord will not be responsible to complete works to make the Property fit to live in if the problem itself has been caused by the tenant's failure to behave in a tenant-like manner or that results from the tenant's breach of tenancy and that the Landlord is not obliged to maintain or repair anything the tenant is entitled to remove from the dwelling.

If you are renting a Property that is in a poor condition, you have notified your Landlord of the problem and they will do nothing about it call our offices on 01254 297 130 to see if we can help.

Sallyann Vipond