The government has issued guidelines for the implementation of the new Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act which comes into effect on March 20.
The act, which has come about after years of determined advocacy by Labour MP Karen Buck, applies only to England and amends the relevant sections of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, updating the ‘fit for human habitation’ test.
From later this month it will be a legal requirement for all social and private sector landlords, or agents acting on their behalf, to ensure that a property is fit for human habitation at the beginning and for the duration of the tenancy.
The guidelines set out that measurements will be via the Housing Health and Safety Rating System and the most controversial part of the law allows tenants to take legal action in the courts, for breach of contract, if the property is in poor condition.
Properties will be measured by their state of repair, stability, freedom from damp, internal arrangement, natural lighting, ventilation, water supply, drainage and sanitary conveniences, and facilities for storing/preparing/cooking of food and disposal of waste water.
The guidelines are for tenants, landlords and councils and can be found here.