Repair or beware

25th March 2019

Repair or beware

A new ‘fit for habitation’ Act that came into force last week could cause serious concerns for landlords, warns a specialist property lawyer.

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 came in on March 20th and means residential landlords will be obliged to make repairs to their properties in readiness for tenants taking up residence.

Landlords of residential properties have always had to make ongoing repairs to their properties but have not previously been required to make it suitable in the first place (save for the exception of some very low rent properties). 

The implementation of the Act will give tenants the power to enforce habitation standards for themselves rather than rely on over stretched local authorities.  The Act will apply to all new tenancies (granted for a term of less than seven years) from March 20th and imply a clause that the property is actually fit for human habitation.

Nyree Applegarth, a Property Litigation specialist at Higgs & Sons, said: “This will lead to new areas of disrepair becoming actionable and allow the Court to not only order that work is carried out, but also award damages (compensation).

“Crucially, tenants will now have the ability to take control of their situation by taking action personally, rather than having to rely upon the local authority to serve notice or pursue a Statutory Nuisance.

“Areas such as condensation, damp and mould are likely to become far more actionable from now on.”

If you are a landlord or tenant who would like further information on the new Act and how it may impact you, specialists from the Higgs Dispute Resolution Team are available to offer advice and information to those with any concerns.


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