Landlords, Are You At Risk?
Local property expert Lucie White explains the new legislation now in effect
Another month, another piece of legislation for landlords to get to grips with! The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 came into effect on 20th March 2019 and provides tenants (both social and private) a way to take effective action if they rent a property in poor condition and the landlord fails to carry out necessary maintenance.
An amendment to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, it requires that any property let by a landlord is fit for human habitation when a tenancy is granted, and remains so for the duration of that tenancy. Issues that would classify a home as ‘unfit’ include damp and mould, broken windows, lack of heating, lack of water and infestation.
The Bill doesn’t introduce any new standards or additional regulations for landlords to adhere to but where a property is not fit, tenants are now able to apply directly to the court for an injunction to compel the landlord to carry out works; or for compensation for the landlord’s failure to keep the property in good repair. Some tenants will be able to use their own evidence to support their case, such as photos of severe mould or hazards. “ Compensation for the landlord’s failure to keep the property in good repair”
As a landlord, you must be able to demonstrate that you have made all reasonable attempts to remedy the situation as quickly as possible. As a general rule, if you take your responsibilities seriously and keep your property in good condition, this Bill is unlikely to affect you – but it serves as a reminder to keep on top of maintenance ‘niggles’ and get any issues fixed swiftly. It’s worth noting that the Act doesn’t apply in instances where a tenant or a tenant’s possessions have caused the problem.
If you’d like further advice about looking after your rental property, give us a call. A good property manager will ensure that those niggles are sorted out quickly and efficiently saving you hassle and time, and often money in the long run.