Landlords Must Be Aware of Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018
A substantial part of a landlord’s work is to remain up to date with regulations. The administrative aspect of the role can be all-encompassing, and many landlords are surprised at the paperwork required with the position. At Student Circle, we know some landlords struggle with this part of the role. Therefore, we are pleased to provide as much guidance as we can to all Coventry landlords.
A new Act is coming into force on the 20th of March 2019. The Homes (Fitness for Human Act) Act has recently been headline news. With tenants having the right to sue landlords, it is understandable that there is considerable interest in this Act. While most landlords will not have to worry about being sued, it is important landlords understand this threat exists.
Many rental properties are in poor condition
However, there are many homes across the country that are in poor condition. A recent study indicated around one million homes would fail a human habitation test. If this is the case, around 2.4 million people are living in poor conditions. The Government has been working to minimise the scope for rogue landlords to operate, and this Act is the latest movement to clamp down on questionable landlords.
The Act requires a rental property to be of a suitable standard. Given that many issues can cause a rental dwelling to be unfit for human habitation, landlords have to be vigilant. If there are problems relating to the hot and cold water in the property, a home may be unfit for habitation. If the rental property poses issues with food preparation or washing up, it may not be suitable. Even lighting and ventilation issues can be enough to cause landlords problems when it comes to letting property.
Landlord may face penalties if their property is in poor condition
With the new Act, tenants who have a problem with their rental accommodation no longer need to raise the issue with a local authority or council. Instead, unhappy tenants can take their landlord to court. Going directly to the court process speeds up complaints, and landlords will be under higher pressure to deal with problems if they are found to be responsible.
A landlord may not always be responsible for an uninhabitable house. If the tenant, or the tenant’s possessions, caused the problem, the landlord won’t be responsible. If an Act of God has created the property to be uninhabitable, the landlord will not be held accountable.
In court, if a landlord is found responsible, the judge can order the landlord to make improvements. The judge can also force the landlord to provide compensation for the tenant. The size of compensation a landlord is told to pay can depend on:
· The impact on the tenant
· The length of time the problem was present
· The condition of the property
We don’t believe most landlords in Coventry will be affected by this Act. However, the Act provides landlords with a reason to review their rental property and the service they offer to tenants. If you’re a Coventry landlord looking for assistance caring for tenants, contact Student Circle, and we’ll be pleased to assist you.