News & Insights

LEGAL UPDATE: Landlords! Tenants! Have you heard of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act?

Landlords! Now is the time to listen to your tenants! When was the last time you inspected your rental property? Have you been delegating the inspections to a managing agent? How well is your agent is taking care of things?

Well now is the time to give your rental property a once-over!

Because from March 20, 2019, tenants were given the power to sue landlords who fail to adequately maintain their properties as part of a new law called the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act.

This Act is an update to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and will cover all tenancies of less than seven years in length. The court will now have authority to order landlords to carry out the repairs and they will now also be able to award damages to tenants.

The legislation is intended to prevent tenants having to tolerate unsafe or unsanitary conditions. From 20 March, matters which could now cause a property to be “unfit” include:

  • Damp and mould growth
    Excess Cold
  • Excess heat
  • Asbestos and MMF
  • Biocides
  • Carbon monoxide and fuel combustion products
  • Lead
  • Radiation
  • Uncombusted fuel gas
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Crowding and space
  • Entry by intruders
  • Lighting
  • Noise
  • Domestic hygiene, pests and refuse
  • Food safety (inadequate provisions)
  • Personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage
  • Water supply
  • Falls (baths, between levels, level surfaces and stairs)
  • Electrical hazards
  • Fire
  • Flames, hot surfaces etc
  • Collision and entrapment
  • Explosions
  • Position and operability of amenities etc
  • Structural collapse and falling elements

Instead of your tenants going first to the local council to guarantee that problems are fixed and repair works are carried out, they now have the option to go straight to court.

If you are a good landlord, then you will have nothing to be concerned about!

If you respond to requests for repairs quickly and your properties are generally in good repair, then you’re good.

However, if you have ignored complaints about issues such as damp, hoping your tenants will put up with it, then you better fix it asap, or the alternative is that you could end up in court.

To access the Act, click here.

For more information on how the Act may affect you as a landlord or as a tenant then please contact Foskett Marr Gadsby & Head LLP’s Property Teams, based in Epping and Loughton, on 01992 578 642.