The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation)
The Act comes into force on 20 March 2019 and aims to improve standards in the private and social rented sectors.
It applies to any lease of less than 7 years (with limited exceptions) on which a dwelling is let wholly or mainly for human habitation, together with certain secure tenancies.
The Act applies to:-
– New tenancies entered into on or after 20 March 2019 (including renewals of existing tenancies from then).
– Fixed term tenancies which become periodic on or after 20 March 2019.
– Any tenancies which became periodic prior to 20 March 2019, from 20 March 2020.
The obligation extends to all parts of the building to which the landlord has an interest including common parts (e.g. stairwells) and retained parts (e.g. a communal bin store).
The Act enters a new Section 9A into the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 that implies a covenant by each landlord that the dwelling:-
– is fit for human habitation at the time the tenancy is granted (or if later the beginning of the term); and
– remains fit for human habitation during the term.
In determining whether a dwelling is unfit, Section 10 requires regard to be had in respect of a number of matters including:-
– freedom from damp
– water supply
– natural lighting
– drainage and sanitary conveniences
– facilities for the preparation and cooking of food
A property is regarded as unfit only if it “is so far defective in one or more of those matters that it is not reasonably suitable for occupation in that condition”. The question will therefore arise as to what point a property becomes not suitable for occupation.
The Act does not make landlords responsible for damage/disrepair caused by tenant’s improper behaviour.
Obviously only landlords of properties suffering serious disrepair issues will be affected by the Act but it is important that all landlords ensure that effective repairing policies are in place for their properties.
If you require any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact Debbie Whiteley on 0161 819 4920 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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