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Guidelines issued for new Human Habitation law from March 20

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.

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    This has to be a two way, "Thing".

    Some tenants are as bad as bad landlords. It has happened to me and it has happened to other landlords I know. You have a nice flat and the tenant trashes it. How in the name of your favourite deity is that the responsibility of the landlord other than to to pay for the cost of eviction, lost rent and repairs. Those costs will almost certainly be more than keeping the property up to a good standard for good tenants. There is no advantage to letting your rental property deteriorate until it is unliveable in.

    Whoever you are, please think about this or there will be a lot fewer properties for rent before many more months pass.

  • S l
    • S l
    • 07 March 2019 14:10 PM

    how do we protect ourselves from this new craze from the government? obviously the prs is habitable and nice if they were taken up by the tenants for renting. However, i fear this will be another step where the tenants moved in, trash the place, cry wolf and because it is still within the tenancy period, the council will impose upon landlords to rectify it and not able to claim from tenants as per contract and worst, the tenants now can trash it and caused damp and mould in the house and sue the landlord for it!!!


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