What Does this Mean for Tenants?
Your landlord must make sure your home is safe, healthy, and that its condition could not seriously harm you. Most tenants are in acceptable, safe, healthy housing. But, for those that are not the process you go through is still mostly the same it was.
Although, there are a couple of restrictions on how the new act can be used. If you signed your tenancy agreement on or after 20 March 2019, you can take action against your landlord. And, that action could utilise this new Homes Act. But, if you signed your tenancy agreement before that date, it’s slightly different. Instead, you will have to wait until 20 March 2020 before you can use the Fitness for Human Habitation Act against your landlord.
But, your local council does still have powers to deal with substandard properties, even if you cannot. They can take action on your behalf if you live in poor conditions.
There are a few restrictions to the tenancies this can apply to. To find out whether it applies to you, contact a solicitor for advice. Or, you can look at this government guide for more information.
What Does this Mean for Landlords?
Largely, responsible landlords will not need to change what they are already doing. The new act will help to ensure landlords are meeting their existing obligations. These obligations, as they have been previously, should be met at the beginning and throughout the whole tenancy.
Again, as was the case before, there are exceptions to landlord responsibilities. These exceptions are something a landlord is not required to resolve. They include:
- Problems cause by tenant behaviour
- Problems caused by events out of the landlord’s control
- A problem caused by a tenant’s possessions, or by something the tenant has the right to remove from the property
You will be responsible for resolving a problem from when a tenant makes you aware of the problem. Or, if the problem is in a common area, you would be immediately responsible. You are allowed a reasonable amount of time to deal with the problem. But, it is in your best interest to make sure you get on top of any problem as soon possible.
If as a landlord you fail to follow the Fitness for Human Habitation Act, your tenants may have the right to take you to court over breach of contract. Also, your local authorities have powers to enforce the new law and ensure you meet your obligations. You may also need to pay compensation, or damages, to your tenants who have been affected.
You can take a look at this government guide for more information.