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Landlords must ensure properties ‘comply with the required standards’ or face court

Landlords are being urged to prepare for the new Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, which came into effect earlier this week, by checking their properties or face the risk of being taken to court.

As many of you already know, this law offers renters the right to sue landlords in England and Wales if properties do not meet certain standards, for example if they are excessively cold or mouldy resulting in them being unfit for habitation.

The new law not only requires standards to be maintained in the property but now also extends to the maintenance of common areas or retained parts.


Lauren Bryan, a chartered legal executive in the dispute resolution department at Thursfields Solicitors in Birmingham, commented: “This new act should prompt landlords to make sure their properties comply with the required standards to avoid unnecessary legal action.

“But if a landlord is served with proceedings or the tenant pleads this as a defence to possession proceedings, they should immediately seek qualified legal advice.

“For example, one issue landlords may face is tenants stating there are problems but then failing to allow the landlord access to fix those problems.

“They and would need to show the court that this is the case and we can advise landlords how to deal with these types of issues.”

Under the new Act, which applies to all new tenancies created after 20 March 2019, including replacement tenancies, and will then apply to all periodic tenancies in existence after 20 March 2020, a property could be deemed unfit for habitation if there are ‘serious’ problems with a wide range of factors.

This includes repairs; stability; damp; internal arrangement; natural lighting; ventilation; water supply; drainage and toilets; and cooking facilities that result in the property being unfit for human habitation.

Bryan added: “While the law will have some positive outcomes by persuading landlords to carry out urgent repairs, it is also just another barrier put before decent landlords and another set of rules to comply with.

“Landlords should check their properties now to ensure they comply with standards and should seek qualified legal assistance if they feel tenants are trying to take undue advantage of the new laws.”

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Poll: Are you prepared for the new Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018?


  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    What, a Tenant pleading FFHH as a Defence to Possession proceedings, the authors of the legislation would hear of no such thing, yet, here we have a Legal executive warning of the very same thing.
    Who's feeling embarassed now Peaker ?

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    • 22 March 2019 22:30 PM

    This Peaker bloke is a f###### idiot.
    He is supposed to be an experienced lawyer known for writing primary legislation yet he can't see how his writings can be exploited by savvy tenants.
    A have read a lot of his posts on various fora and he comes across as quite knowledgeable but on this latest legislation just DOESN'T understand the Pandora's box he has opened.
    It WON'T be too long before the first tenant scammers try it on.
    Quite frankly if I had a property that was prone to mould because tenants refuse to behave properly I would issue S21 and evict and then sell.

  • icon

    That is if he has not outlawed a section 21!!


    I fully expect section 21 will be outlawed before too much longer, a way around it might be to double the rent, wait for the tenants to either get into arrears or leave, there is normally a way

  • icon
    • 23 March 2019 10:40 AM

    They will just prevent any rent increase once a claim has been made by the tenant.
    Of course this mould issue will also be exploited in an attempt to to jump the council house list.
    All a LL can do is ensure everything is OK at the start of the tenancy and advise tenants if any mould occurs the tenancy will be ended.
    That should concentrate minds to ventilate and use the heating and dry clothes outside.
    On a TV promo show they had a nifty clothes drying device which was effectively a clothes horse with an electric fan built in.
    Most tenants would surely behave correctly with the threat of eviction hanging over them if they refused to behave in a tenant like manner!?


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