A new Act will come into force on 20th March 2019 which states that any property let by a landlord as a home must be fit for living in. This includes private renting, social housing and houses in multiple occupancy (HMO).
The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 uses the term ‘fit for human habitation’ but what exactly does that mean?
The Act lists the areas that landlords will need to make sure are free from any serious defects to ensure the home is deemed fit for living in. The areas listed are:
• Stability (the property is structurally sound)
• Freedom from damp
• Internal arrangement
• Natural lighting
• Water supply
• Drainage and sanitary conveniences
• Facilities for preparation and cooking of food and for the disposal of waste water
Ultimately the landlord is responsible for ensuring all of these areas are ‘fit for human habitation’ at the start of and throughout the tenancy. However, the landlord will not be responsible for damage or disrepairs to these areas caused by the tenants behaviour.
If any of these areas are deemed unfit then the landlords will be required to put the issues right. Claims may be brought before a Court where a landlord does not carry out works and damages/compensation may be awarded.
As with any new law we are yet to see exactly how this act will be interpreted by the Courts and what the consequences will be for landlords not meeting the required standards.
If you are a landlord and you need advice on this or any other matter, please contact our specialist solicitor, Ian Heal, on 01983 817060 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.