An Introduction to the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation Act) 2018

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 became law on 20th March 2019 in order to ensure that houses and flats that are rented are ‘fit for human habitation’. The meaning of this is they are healthy and safe and do not contain anything that may cause any serious harm. Although the majority of landlords make sure that the properties that they let out are secure and safe, dry and warm, this does not apply to all landlords, and this new Act seeks to protect the tenants who unfortunately end up in the properties of irresponsible landlords that are not fit for human habitation. Thus, this law has become quite important for the tenants who are not knowingly resides in the property that can harm them and they can face danger.

Who Is Affected by the New Act?

This new legislation is Karen Buck’s private member’s bill, and it allows tenants to take action directly against landlords who have failed to make repairs when obliged to and against landlords who are providing sub-standard accommodation. With the help of this law, all the properties that are given as rent should fall under the category of Homes or landlords should be penalised if the property cause any harm to the tenants.

Most landlords, however, care about the properties in which their tenants live and keep up to a reasonable standard and carry out repairs promptly. Many landlords or agents on their behalf visit the properties regularly using property inventory software to make sure there is no disrepair and to check whether any maintenance is needed. The new Act is therefore highly unlikely to result in these types of landlords finding themselves in court due to their properties being unfit for human habitation.

Exemptions

The Act doesn’t require landlords to carry out repairs in particular circumstances, such as where disrepair was as a result of tenants not using properties in a manner that is ‘tenant-like’. Furthermore, the landlord is not obliged to reinstate any property if it was destroyed by storm, fire, flood or another inevitable accident. Landlords may be interested to know that they will not be obliged to repair any belongings of the tenant. A property inventory could be useful to distinguish between a landlord’s and tenant’s property, for which businesses would use property inventory software. If a landlord that is superior – e.g. a freeholder – withholds consent, the repairs or works cannot be completed. These are some of the terms and conditions that are maintained keeping in mind the basic rights of the landlords and the tenants.

How Will the Act Be Phased In?

It will be applicable to new tenancies (including statutory periodic tenancies and renewals) following 20th March 2019 from the date that is the grant of any new tenancy.

This blog is quite useful to know about this law- Homes or Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018. This helps the tenants in finding the right rented property that is safe for them.

Peter