homes fitness for habitation act property management guideThis is a new piece of legislation coming into force to help short-term residential tenants chase a landed with issues like damp that simply make their residence inhabitable.

No more landlords burying their heads in the sand and creaming-in the rents whilst a tenant lives in a dive.

The legislation is basically an amendment to the core Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 through the Homes (Fitness for Habitation Act) - still using HHSRS (Housing Health & Safety Rating System) Regulations and the 29-core issues that make a place inhabitable for a tenant.

Damp is a popular one, bit there are other issues as well.

The 4 ‘R’ Consequences

There is a host of technical information around on this, as with any change in legislation, particularly in the residential sector of the property market.

Here are four quick application points to bear in mind all beginning with the letter ’R’.

1. Reduced Lease Length

This legislation is applicable for residential property, but the length of lease must be under seven years.
Therefore, this is targeting the short-term rental market often on AST agreements.

Just check the whole length of time involved, as original shorter leases may have holded-over into a statutory lease.

2. Range of Issues

As mentioned above, there are a host of issues that can make a home uninhabitable, not just damp - for example lighting, ventilation, utilities, and general repairs.

They’re basically the core parts of the main building fabric and services that a landlord is responsible for.

3. Reasonable Time

The amount of time a landlord needs to resolve things depends upon how serious and urgent they are, meaning the default 28-days may not always be applicable.

This is both in terms of initial notice and then time to resolve afterwards before further action and court involvement.

4. Responsible Behaviour

Plus, this is all about genuine property problems that the tenant has not been part of creating.

So, if they have occoured from the tenants’ misbehaviour, let’s say poor use of ventilation and heating/cooling, then this means the landlord won’t be responsible under this obligation, even though the problem still exists.

Getting Habitable

As always with these things, don’t panic if you’re a landlord looking at what’s required at your property, or you’re a tenant thinking they can have the landlord at their beck-and-call now.

Often this is a good threat and option to look into, whereas actually progressing with through legal advice can be timely and costly; but still effective if needs be.

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