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Tenant rights UK: New fitness for human habitation bill means landlords can be taken to court if they don’t complete necessary home repairs

Landlords, if you haven’t inspected your rental properties for a while or you’ve entrusted them to a managing agent, I would give them a once-over if I were you before a new Act comes into force in a couple of months, otherwise you could end up in court.

From March 20, tenants will be given the power to sue Landlords who fail to adequately maintain their properties as part of a new law called the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act.

This means that, rather than relying on overstretched, under-resourced councils to force Landlords to carry out repairs, tenants will be able to take them to court.

What is the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act?

The Act, which is actually an update to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, will cover all tenancies of less than seven years in length.  Courts will have authority to order landlords to carry out the repairs and they will also be able to award damages to tenants.

The new law is designed to prevent tenants having to put up with unsafe or unsanitary conditions, such as damp, poor ventilation, lack of natural light and blocked drains.

If you respond to tenants’ requests for repairs efficiently and your properties are generally in good repair, then you’re fine.

However, if you have ignored your tenants’ complaints about such issues as damp, hoping they will just put up with it, then you had better get yourself into gear and sort it out now, otherwise you could end up in court. If you do, you won’t get much sympathy.

If you are using an Agent to manage the Property,  do you know how well your agent is taking care of things?  When was the last time they carried out an Inspection with a detailed report?  Can you be sure that they have carried out necessary repairs and they haven’t just ignored tenants’ complaints because they really cannot be bothered to do any work for their management fee? If you are not sure, I would go and take a look.

Of course, those with good Managing Agents and good self-managing Landlords don’t have anything to worry about!  

The properties we manage on behalf of our Landlords are inspected on a regular basis with detailed reports provided (including images), and all works are followed up in a timely manner.  If you would like to discuss using our Management service – please contact us on 020 8451 9844.

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