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Advice for landlords as the Homes Act becomes law

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The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act came into force on 20 March 2019, giving tenants the right to sue landlords whose properties fail to come up to scratch.

Advice for landlords as the Homes Act becomes law

 

The act obliges landlords to ensure that properties are ‘fit for habitation’ – that they have good sanitation, adequate ventilation and access to natural light. It also covers issues including damp, presence of asbestos, overcrowding and problems with the water supply.

All tenancies of less than seven years are covered by the act; these are the majority. New and renewing tenancies, signed after 20 March, will be subject to the legislation immediately. Existing fixed-term tenancies will fall under the requirements of the act when they are renewed. Periodic tenancies have until 20 March 2020 to become compliant.

Also known as the Homes Act, the legislations were introduced by MP Karen Buck and is an update to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

Previously, a landlord would be considered in breach of contract if their property was not in a good state of repair – for example with broken windows or faulty appliances and local authorities were required to enforce the rules.

The new act means that the courts now have the authority to order landlords to carry out repairs and award damages to tenants.

Advice for landlords seeking to comply with the law is to keep properties in a good state of repair and respond to issues promptly. Maintaining lines of communication with tenants and carrying out regular inspections are also recommended.

David Cox, Chief Executive of industry body ARLA Propertymark said: “We’re pleased the Homes Act is coming into force and congratulate Karen Buck MP on her work to provide a better private rented sector for all. This new legislation will give renters greater protection against criminal operators and means they will now be able to take direct legal action if their agent or landlord does not comply.”

Read more about this story on the ARLA Propertymark website.

Neil Jennings

Neil background is in marketing and business development and has over 20 years experience in the field. He runs Asset Grove and is involved in the marketing strategy for most of our campaigns.

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