Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 comes into effect today

 

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 comes into force today (20 March 2019), having received Royal Assent on 20 December 2018.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) supported this Act as it made its way through Parliament.  The new legislation will give tenants the right to take legal action when landlords fail in their duty to provide safe homes. This is in addition to the powers which local authorities already have to enforce minimum standards.

The Act will only apply to tenancies in England. However, the Welsh Government plans to include similar regulations as part of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016.

From today, the provisions will apply to all new tenancies signed on or after 20 March 2019, including any renewals of tenancies. There is a 12-month transition period, after which it will apply to all periodic tenancies regardless of when they began.

The Act provides tenants with the right to take legal action in the courts for breach of contract on the grounds that the property is unfit for human habitation. Landlords will not be responsible if the condition of the property has been caused by the tenant’s actions.

Richard Lambert, CEO of the NLA, said:

“Too often, tenants living in sub-standard properties are let down by local authorities being unwilling to make effective use of their extensive enforcement powers.

“This Bill will help ensure that the vast majority of good landlords, who are already keeping their properties up to the standards expected, are not under-cut by less reputable landlords who deliberately shirk their responsibilities.

“Over the coming months we will seek to ensure that proper protections remain in place so that landlords are not faced with vexatious claims, nor face punishment for conditions that result from the tenant’s actions.”

The NLA has published a guide for members on the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018.

 

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