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Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act Becomes Law

This Bill received Royal Assent on 20 December 2018 and will come into force on 20 March 2019. 

It is hoped that the Act will help to boost standards in rental properties as well as give tenants powers to hold landlords to account where those standards are not met. Our previous post on the Act can be read here.

Under the Act landlords will be under a legal obligation to ensure that their properties meet certain standards at the beginning and throughout a tenancy. Where landlords fail to meet these standards tenants will have the right to take legal action in the courts for breach of contract. 

Any claim by a tenant against their landlord will be on the basis that their landlord has failed to meet their obligation to keep the property fit for human habitation from the outset of the tenancy. This obligation is met by the large majority of landlords however, for the small minority that fail to ensure their properties are fit for human habitation court action and other sanctions such as the Rogue Landlords database and banning orders will follow. 

Given the severity of the sanctions the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has confirmed that they will be providing guidance for landlords and tenants in the New Year, ahead of the Act coming into force. Once the guidance has been issued this post will be updated. 

The legislation applies to England only and will only be in force initially on 20 March 2019 for tenancies which are new or actively renewed after that date. It will apply to all existing tenancies as from 20 March 2020.

Published 8 January 2019

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