Landlords & Tenants: Homes (Fitness for Habitation) Act 2018 – March 2019

From 20th March 2019 all Landlords and Letting Agents acting on a Landlords behalf will need to ensure that their rental properties are fit for human habitation throughout any tenancy. Initially this will only be applied to new tenancies after 20 March 2019 and renewals of existing tenancies. It will also apply to fixed terms tenancies which become periodic on or after the 20 March 2019. It will be applied to all tenancies in 2020.

The Act, which amends the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 outlines the issues that will be taken into consideration when deciding whether a property is fit for human habitation. The issues considered are as follows:

  • Repair
  • Stability
  • Freedom from Damp
  • Internal Arrangement
  • Natural Lighting
  • Ventilation
  • Water Supply
  • Drainage and sanitary conveniences; and
  • Facilities for preparation and cooking of food and for the disposal of waste water.

Failure to meet the new requirements could lead to tenants taking Landlords to court for breach of contract which could end with the Landlord being forced to carry out improvement works as well as paying compensation to the Tenant.

Landlords will not be required to carry out works to remedy unfitness which has been caused by the Tenant.

The Act does provide an implied covenant in which the Landlord or a person authorised by the Landlord may enter the dwelling for the purpose of viewing it’s condition and state of repair at reasonable hours of the day and with giving 24 hours’ notice to the Tenant.

If the property is found to be unfit the Landlord is not liable to the Tenant until they have been given notice of the issues. The Landlord then has a reasonable amount of time remedy any unfitness within the property.

If you require any further advice or support these matters, then please contact Rachel Greenway at Else Solicitors on rachel.greenway@elselaw.co.uk or 01283 526213.

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