The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 came into force on 20th March 2019. It is applicable to all social and private rented properties and outlines the requirements necessary to ensure that accommodation is fit for human habitation. The Act includes amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, which will ensure that any property that is let by a landlord, is fit for human habitation when a tenancy begins and for its full duration.
What changes will take place?
As part of the changes, a larger set of criteria will be assessed when considering property safety. Currently, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states that a property is unfit for human habitation if there are any defects found with the following that makes the property unsuitable for occupation:
- Freedom from damp
- Internal arrangement
- Natural lighting
- Water supply
- Drainage and sanitary convenience
- Facilities for preparation and cooking of food and for the disposal of waste water.
The new Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 adds “any prescribed hazard” to this list. This encompasses any of the 29 hazards that are listed in the housing health and safety rating system (asbestos, fire, electrical safety, lead etc.). This document does not currently enforce minimum standards but is concerned with minimising potential hazards by clearly setting out the standards that Landlords should follow. The new legislation will inform landlords on the best way to assess their properties and ensure they are in a reasonable condition to guarantee the safety of tenants.
The changes also include an addition to section 9A of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, which states that the dwelling must be:
(a) Fit for human habitation at the time the lease is granted or otherwise created or, if later, at the beginning of the term of the lease, and
(b) Will remain fit for human habitation during the terms of the lease.
Who will the changes impact?
The new legislation is applicable to all tenancy agreements less than seven years in length in both the social and private rented sectors. It will be the responsibility of the Landlord to establish the required changes to ensure that all the properties they own meet the new required standards.
Are you unsure how this affects you?
Our team of expert property consultants can help you to understand the legal requirements placed upon you in relation to property safety. Our products have been tailored to reflect the needs of the sector and help our clients to overcome the pitfalls of meeting their statutory compliance obligations.
Pennington Choices welcomes this new legislation change, since it is essential that factors such as asbestos, fire safety and electrical safety are recognised for the considerable risk they can create for tenants. We understand that ensuring your legal property compliance obligations are met is a complex and onerous task, yet also an essential one to ensure the safety of tenants and prevent scrutiny and potential downgrades.