It is vital landlords remain up to date with regulations regarding the letting industry. Failing to remain in touch with rules and guidelines hampers a landlord’s ability to provide valuable service to tenants. Landlords also run the risk of penalties if they fail to give the tenants dependable service.

However, thanks to the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act, tenants can sue landlords. Most landlords will not be affected by this new Act, but rogue landlords have something new to consider. The Government has focused a lot of attention on rogue landlords recently, and this Act is the latest attempt to drive these people out of the letting industry. In the long-term, the Act will be good news for most landlords, and it should be very positive for tenants.

The Act applies to:

Tenancies shorter than seven years, starting on or after the 20th of March 2019 New introductory, assured and secure tenancies, beginning on or after the 20th of March 2019 Leases which are renewed for a fixed term, commencing on or after the 20th of March 2019

From the 20th of March 2020, the Act will come into force for all periodic tenancies.

Are there exemptions to the Act?

There will be times when the landlord is not responsible for the condition of a rental property. If the tenant or the tenant’s possessions, has caused a low standard of rental property, the landlord isn’t responsible. If the landlord is unable to obtain consent to improve the property, they aren’t responsible for the property’s condition. If an “Act of God” has caused a problem, the landlord won’t be responsible for the property’s condition.

Rather than complaining to the local council, tenants can make a complaint directly to the courts. A decision on whether the property is habitable or not will be made in court, using Section 10 of the Tenant Act 1985.

There are many issues which could see a rental property classed as not being fit for human habitation. A lack of natural light, ventilation problems, hot and cold water issues, problems with cooking, dampness, problems with washing up, asbestos and an unstable structure can all result in a rental dwelling being unsuitable for tenants.

Landlords may be ordered to improve their home and pay compensation

The court has the power to order a landlord to make improvements to their rental dwelling, and the court could order a landlord to pay compensation to the tenant. The amount of money that a landlord has to pay will depend on:

The impact on the tenant The length of time the problem was present The condition of the rental accommodation

It is important landlords are aware of the Act and how it could impact their business. It is essential landlords offer clean and safe rental property. If you are a landlord who needs help serving tenants, contact Bond Oxborough Phillips, and we will be more than happy to assist you in this matter, and with all letting industry duties.