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The Fitness for Human Habitation Bill is a recently passed piece of legislation. The Bill revives a clause which existed in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, requiring all rented homes to be ‘fit for human habitation’ at the start of the tenancy and to remain so throughout.

In determining whether a property is ‘unfit’ the Bill identifies some 29 hazards in addition to the original 9 fitness categories included in the original 1985 Act.  The updated ‘fitness standard’ includes issues which are currently not covered by a landlord’s legal repair responsibilities, such as damp caused by a design defect rather than disrepair.

Call us and book a survey now on 0208 226 5654

How does the Bill Affect Me?

Where tenants previously had no way of enforcing property standards themselves, the Fitness for Human Habitation Act now gives them a way to take action if they rent a property in poor condition and the landlord fails to do the necessary maintenance and/or repairs. 

Moreover, for the first time, the Bill gives tenants the right to take their landlord to court where a property is not fit, potentially resulting in either an injunction to compel the landlord to carry out the necessary works, or in financial compensation for the landlord’s failure to keep the property in a good state of repair.

Currently, there are no specified caps on the level of compensation that can be awarded to a tenant.  Factors which will be taken into account include the perceived harm that has been inflicted on the tenant, the longevity of the issue and the severity of the unfitness in the dwelling.  You may also be ordered to pay any legal costs incurred by your tenant.

How Long Do I Have To Fix a Problem?

The landlord is considered responsible from the moment that he or she is made aware of the hazard by the tenant. This differs a little in Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs), where the landlord is immediately liable for the occurrence of any hazard located in the common areas of the building.

All landlords are allowed a ‘reasonable’ amount of time to rectify hazards appearing on their premises. However, there are no hard and fast rules about what constitutes a ‘reasonable’ timeframe: this is down to the court to decide. What does this mean for you? Essentially, the new Bill creates a massive grey area in terms of how quickly landlords should mobilise to fix hazards within their properties. The only safe approach? To ensure a specialist remedial assessor is appointed immediately to manage the process from start to finish. Our team of Certified Surveyors in Remedial Treatments are on call 24/7 to help with all your property fitness needs.

For further advice, or to appoint a remedial assessor, call our friendly team of advisors on 0208 226 5654 today.

I’m a Reputable Landlord. What’s the Problem?

A key change under the new legislation is that tenants are able to apply directly to the court using their own evidence, such as photos of severe mould or hazards. As all reputable landlords will know…you cannot be held responsible for EVERYTHING: many problems within a property are caused by tenant behaviours or by events completely outside of your control. And whilst the Bill specifically states that you are not liable to remedy these things…well, it could be difficult and costly to prove, especially if relations with your tenant have grown strained.

This is where Crownstone can step in to help you. By instructing one of our Fitness for Human Habitation (FFHH) Property Health Checks, we can put our stamp of approval on your property, delivering peace of mind to both you and your tenant.

For further advice, or to book in your Fitness for Human Habitation (FFHH) Property Health Check, call our friendly team of advisors on 0208 226 5654 today

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