Landlords will soon be legally required to keep their rented homes ‘fit for human habitation’, with tenants given the power to sue if they fail to maintain their properties.
The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act will become law on March 20th 2019 and will apply to houses that are kept in a poor state of repair, to tenancies of less than seven years in England and Wales.
Under the new law, tenants can take action if there are issues with, repair, stability, damp, internal arrangement, natural lighting, ventilation, water supply, drainage and sanitary conveniences, facilities for preparation and cooking of food and for the disposal of waste water or hazards under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.
According to housing organisation Shelter, there are currently almost one million rented homes with hazards that pose a serious risk to health and safety in the UK, affecting roughly 2.5 million people, who will all benefit from the landmark change to the law.
The Bill revives legislation requiring homes to be fit for human habitation at the start of the tenancy and to remain so throughout, and with the new bill, instead of complaining to the local council, renters can now go straight to the courts and get the changes done that are needed.
Shelter wrote: "Extraordinarily, this is a not a protection currently enjoyed by any renter - social or private - in England. Although landlords have responsibilities to do repairs, there are some glaring omissions - including, for example, damp and mould caused by the structure of the building.
Crucially, the Bill will help private and social renter's voices to be heard, by giving them the right to take their landlord to court over unfit and unsafe conditions like these in their home."