Is your property deemed fit for human habitation?

10th January 2019

The (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill has received Royal Assent and the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 (HFHHA 2018) is to come into force on the 20th March 2019.

The HFHHA 2018 will amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (LTA 1985) to require that any property let by a landlord be it private or social is “fit for human habitation” and remains so during the term of the lease.  Arguably, this was already covered by the LTA 1985 which defines what makes a property unfit for human habitation, and so you will find that most private landlords are already in compliance with this.

Responsibility for fitness of habitation generally lies with the landlord, although this responsibility does not extend to those situations where the dwelling is unfit for human habitation as a result of the tenant’s own breach.

The requirement of fit for human habitation not only includes the dwelling but extends to the common parts in which the landlord has an interest. For example, the common parts of a block of flats owned by the landlord.

The Act covers all tenancies less than seven years in length, together with assured and regulated tenancies. This Act aims to improve standards in the private and social rented sectors by placing further obligations on landlords to keep their property in good condition.

Landlords should be aware of the change to this Act, especially those private landlords responsible for regulated tenancies where the landlords involvement with the property may have been limited.

It remains to be seen whether these amendments add any real substance to the existing legislation.