Petersfield Landlords: Is Your Home Fit For Human Habitation?

We know that Petersfield landlords have a lot to consider, but at Williams of Petersfield, we aim to provide as much support and guidance as we can. If you struggle to stay in touch with regulations, rely on us to keep you informed and up to date. There is a new Act coming into effect this month, and it is vital you are aware of how it may impact your business.

Be ready for further changes in the rental sector

All landlords in the country should be mindful of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act. This Act comes into effect on the 20th of March. Rental property is required to be fit for human habitation at the start of the tenancy and throughout the lease.

The Homes (Fitness For Human Habitation) Act applies to:

  • Tenancies shorter than seven years, taking effect on or after the 20th of March 2019
  • New assured, introductory and secure tenancies, taking effect on or after the 20th of March 2019
  • Fixed-term tenancies which renew from the 20th of March 2019

From 20th of March 2020, the Act applies for all periodic tenancies.

There are exemptions to the Act. If the tenant, or their possessions, have caused the problem, landlords are not required to resolve the issue. If a problem is down to an Act of God, the landlord is not responsible for the matter. If a landlord is unable to gain consent for improvement work, they will not be responsible for the problem. Also, if a tenant isn’t an individual, with examples of this including the tenant being a Housing Association or Local Authority, the landlord will not be responsible for improvements.

The Act applies to the rental dwelling and common areas where the landlord carried an interest.

The courts are responsible for determining if a property is fit for humans or not. The basis of the court’s findings will be made on Section 10 of the Tenant Act 1985.

Landlords should consider:

  • A lack of ventilation at the property
  • A lack of natural light in the rental property
  • Issues with hot and cold water
  • Difficulties in cooking food
  • Difficulties in washing up
  • Dampness
  • Unstable structure

Landlords could face a compensation order

When a house is deemed unfit for human habitation, and the landlord is to blame, the court can order necessary improvements at the rental home. The courts can also order the landlord to pay compensation to the tenant. The amount of compensation required will depend on many factors. The impact on the tenant, the length of time the tenant has endured a problem and the condition of the rental property are all factors that will influence any compensation.

Most landlords across the country, and in Petersfield, will not be affected by this new Act. However, with tenants having the right to sue landlords when a rental property is in poor condition, landlords must be aware of the new Act.

If you are a Petersfield landlord and you require assistance in letting property, contact Williams of Petersfield, and we will be more than happy to assist you.