Wed 24 Apr 2019
The Fitness for Human Habitation Act is now law
The Act came into force on March 20 2019, having been driven through the House of Commons and the House of Lords by Labour MP Karen Buck, who first introduced the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill to Parliament in July 2017.
But what is it and what do your landlords need to do to ensure they are compliant?
What was introduced?
The Act is designed to make sure that all rented accommodation is fit for human habitation and to strengthen means of redress for tenants against the minority of landlords who do not fulfil their legal obligations in keeping their properties safe.
It amended the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to compel all landlords to ensure that their properties, including any common parts of the building, are fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout.
The new legislation also states that there is an implied agreement between the tenant and landlord at the beginning of the tenancy that the property will be fit for human habitation.
It’s important to remember that landlords have no new obligations as a result of the new Act, but they must make sure they are meeting existing protocols when it comes to the standards and safety of their properties.
The implementation of the act is also taking place in stages. Tenants who signed a tenancy agreement from March 20 2019 are able to use the Act immediately if they feel their rental property is not safe, with renters now having the power to hold their landlord to account without having to rely on their local authority.
Tenants who signed a tenancy agreement before March 20 2019, however, won’t be able to use the Fitness for Human Habitation Act until March 20 2020 (this is for secure or assured tenancies, statutory tenancies or private periodic tenancies).
If, though, the tenancy is a fixed-term contract that started before March 20 2019, then tenants need to wait until the end of the tenancy to use the Act
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