The Act amends the current fitness for human habitation found in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to require that any property let by a landlord, including any common parts of the building, is fit for human habitation at the start of the tenancy and throughout i.e. landlords must provide a structurally sound property with hot and cold water etc
THE ACT APPLIES TO:
– Tenancies shorter than 7 years that are granted on or after 20 March 2019 (tenancies longer than 7 years that can be terminated by the landlord before the expiry of 7 years shall be treated as if the tenancy was for less than 7 years)
– New secure, assured and introductory tenancies (on or after 20 March 2019)
– Tenancies renewed for a fixed term (on or after 20 March 2019)
– From the 20 March 2020 the Act will apply to all periodic tenancies. This is all tenancies that started before 20 March 2019; in this instance landlords will have 12 months from the commencement date of the Act before the requirement comes into force
The property will be unfit for habitation if there are serious defects in any of the following:
>> Repair (i.e. the building shouldn’t be neglected or in bad condition),
>> Stability (i.e. the building shouldn’t be unstable),
>> Freedom from damp
>> Internal arrangement (i.e. the property shouldn’t have an unsafe layout),
>> Natural lighting (i.e. there should be enough natural light),
>> Ventilation (i.e. there should be enough ventilation),
>> Water supply (i.e. there should be a supply of hot and cold water),
>> Drainage and sanitary conveniences; and
>> Facilities for preparation and cooking of food and for the disposal of waste water.The Act does not cover people who have ‘licences to occupy’, instead of tenancy agreements. This may include lodgers (people who live with their landlord) some people who live in temporary accommodation, and some, but not all, property guardians.
There are some exceptions under the Act which the landlord may be able to rely on:
>> The problem is caused by the tenant
>> The problem is caused by events such as fire, storm which are completely beyond the landlord’s control
>> The problem is caused by the tenant’s possessions
>> The landlord has not been able to obtain consent for any works e.g. planning permission, freeholder’s consent. Reasonable efforts must be evidenced.
>> The Act does not cover people who have ‘licences to occupy’, instead of tenancy agreements. This may include lodgers (people who live with their landlord) some people who live in temporary accommodation, and some, but not all, property guardians.
Landlords cannot be held responsible for faults that they have not been made aware of however, where they are advised they should take action within a reasonable period with the tenant’s consent.
It’s important to note that this article isn’t exhaustive and doesn’t constitute legal advice.