I wouldn't let a dog live in there!
I must admit, I've heard this on more than one occasion over the years. And you'd be within your right for thinking it's due to leaking pipes and damp rooms rather than a door-bell not working, or a blown light-bulb, but sadly this isn't always the case.
Although now your property may only need a single defect for a tenant to claim it is "no longer fit for human habitation".
What does it all mean?
The Fitness for Human Habitation Bill was recently implemented on the 20th March 2019 and means that landlords in England must ensure their rental properties are safe, healthy and free from things that could cause serious harm, or risk court action for breach of contract.
The Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) will be used to assess any possible breach and a range of criteria will be considered before a judgement can be made which include:
- Natural lighting
- Internal arrangement
- Water Supply
- Drainage and sanitary conveniences
- Facilities for food preparation and cooking, and waste water disposal
- Hazards under the Housing Health & Safety rating system
Although down to the judge, if the property is seen as significantly defective in any of these areas, it will be considered as an unfit home for human habitation.
Are we covered?
Our Full Management landlords will have absolutely nothing to worry about as due to the number of inspections we carry out at the start, during and the end of a tenancy, such issues are identified quickly and rectified right away.
It's slightly different with our Let-Only and Let-Only Plus landlords as the onus is on the landlord to carry out regular inspections throughout the tenancy and rectify defects within a reasonable time frame to ensure they will not fall foul of this new legislation.
The act currently applies to tenancies made after the 20th March 2019, even if they were entered into prior to this date but do not start until later. Although it is good practice to address any niggling reoccurring maintenance issues right away.
And if I don't comply?
Well, don't say we didn't warn you, but if the court finds the property is not fit for human habitation, then you will be looking at one or both of the following:
- compulsory improvement to the condition of the property
- compensation to the tenant
Where can I find this Act?
For those of you that would like to read through the act itself, you can find it in the link here. For the rest of you that are content with the overview which is a lot more interesting in my opinion, you can find one in the link here.
As always, we are on hand if you would like to chat through any of this new legislation, so please do not hesitate to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever.