Legislation alert! The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 has come into force today, 20 March 2019.
This Act applies to all new tenancies granted on or after 20 March 2019, including ‘renewal’ tenancies. The Act will apply to all tenancies from 20 March 2020.
Where the Act applies, landlords must ensure that their property, including any common parts of the building, is fit for human habitation at the outset of the tenancy and throughout the tenant’s occupation. The Act allows tenants the right to commence proceedings against their landlord if their property is unfit for human habitation i.e. in a poor condition. The court can order that the landlord be forced to complete work to remedy the issue and/or pay damages to the tenant. This will include fixed financial penalities of up to £30,000 and banning orders. Which could be a lifetime banning order for the most serious offenders so there is a real need to ensure each and every rental property is safe.
Landlords will be protected where the issues are caused by tenant behaviour, events like fires, storms and floods completely beyond the landlord’s control or the landlord is not able to get consent to complete works.
Landlords will need to be more proactive when tenants complain about the condition of their property, and should ensure that they are keeping detailed records of inspections and communications with the tenant.
The Government have produced guidance for landlords which is available at this link.
This is just one of many legal changes this year that will have an impact on you as a landlord, if you are concerned about keeping up to date and how to remain compliant get in touch with us and we will help you.