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Consultation launched on 'Fitness for Human Habitation' rental rules

The Welsh Government has launched a consultation on draft regulations and guidance to implement the Fitness for Human Habitation requirements for privately rented properties.

Under section 91 of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, landlords - and agents acting for them - must ensure that their properties are “fit for human habitation” both at the start and for the full duration of a tenancy (now called "contracts" in this Welsh legislation).

The consultation sets out the draft regulations and guidance that define what constitutes “fit for human habitation”. 

This will be split into 29 key issues which are:

Damp and mould growth; Asbestos and manufactured mineral fibres; Biocides; Carbon monoxide and fuel combustion products; Lead; Radiation; Uncombusted fuel gas; Volatile organic compounds;

Electrical hazards; Excess cold; Excess heat; Crowding and space; Entry by intruders; 

Lighting; Noise; Domestic hygiene, pests and refuse; Food safety; Personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage; Water supply for domestic purposes;

Falls associated with baths etc; Falls on the level; Falls associated with stairs and steps; Falls between levels; 

Fire; Hot surfaces and materials; Collision and entrapment; Explosions; Position and operability of amenities; Structural collapse and falling elements.

There will also be three specific requirements imposed on landlords, and if they are not met then the property will be deemed unfit for human habitation:

- Smoke alarms on every floor used as living accommodation;

- Carbon monoxide detectors in any room which has a gas, oil or solid fuel burning appliance installed;

- Electrical safety testing at least every five years.

Where a tenant believes their dwelling is not fit for human habitation, they may take court proceedings against the landlord for breach of contract. Such proceedings may result in an order for specific action to remedy the problem and/or an order for compensation.

A landlord who lets a dwelling which is not fit for human habitation, or who fails to rectify an issue causing the dwelling to be unfit, may also risk having their landlord licence revoked under Rent Smart Wales.

You can see the full consultation document here; agents have until January 18 2018 to respond.

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