In spite of the number of existing letting legislations already in place for the UK’s landlords, the government has recently announced that landlords in England will soon be subject to additional legislation, which will aim to increase the standard of living in rental homes for the health, safety and welfare of tenants.
The Homes (Fitness for Habitation) Act received Royal Assent in December 2018 and has come into force on the 20th March 2019. A clause with similar sentiment already exists within the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, by stating that all rented homes must be ‘fit for human habitation’ at the beginning of a tenancy, and that the property must remain so until the end of it. The expansion and reinforcement of this covenant means that tenants will have further rights to request improvements to sub-standard rental homes and will be less reliant on local authorities.
Under its revival, what defines ‘fit for human habitation’?
The Act refers to 29 ‘hazards’, which are listed within the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), and it is these which will outline whether or not a house is ‘fit for human habitation’. This rating system was devised so that local authorities could enforce living standards across the private rented sector. The hazards include:
- Condensation, damp and mould growth
- Excessive cold or heat
- Security (or lack, thereof)
- Fire, gas and electrical safety
- Natural lighting
- Water supply
- Facilities for preparing and cooking food
- Hazards posed by the internal arrangement
- State of repair
How will I know if my property is considered ‘unfit’?
Your property might be deemed unfit “If, and only if, it is so far defective in one or more of those matters that it is not reasonably suitable for occupation in that condition.”
As most of our landlords are, if you are conscientious, considerate and professional, then the chances of supplying an unfit rental home is pretty slim. However, Leaders are aware of the additional pressures that a new legislation such as this can place upon landlords, which is why our team of Property Managers are able to help you keep on top of your rental property or portfolio. Staying on top of changing legislation and ensuring that all your obligations as a landlord are met can be a tricky task, so our specialist teams are here to help, especially with managing complex areas including gas, safety and electrical compliance.
How will a property management service benefit me?
It is often thought that paying for a management agent when renting your property can reduce the profitability of your portfolio. However, with lettings legislations seemingly under consistent review, the value of a property management service, especially for landlords with several rental properties, can be immeasurable.
From arranging gas and electrical safety checks to conducting regular property visits and creating condition reports, your property manager is a dedicated contact, assigned to your property. With your best professional and financial interests in mind, not only will they help you to maintain a property that far exceeds the ‘fit for human habitation’ criteria, they can act quickly if issues large or small arise.
If you’d like to learn more about the Fitness for Human Habitation Act, or our award-winning Property Management services, speak to one of your local Leaders property experts today, by calling 0333 230 4510.