Guide for landlords: Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018
What are the criteria for ‘Fitness for Human Habitation’?
The courts will decide whether a property is fit for human habitation by considering the matters set out in section 10 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. These are whether:
- the building has been neglected and is in a bad condition
- the building is unstable
- there’s a serious problem with damp
- it has an unsafe layout
- there’s not enough natural light
- there’s not enough ventilation
- there is a problem with the supply of hot and cold water
- there are problems with the drainage or the lavatories
- it’s difficult to prepare and cook food or wash up
- or any of the 29 hazards set out in the Housing Health and Safety (England) Regulations 2005
the legislation requires landlords to ensure that they are meeting their existing responsibilities with regards to property standards and safety.
There are no new obligations for landlords under this Act;
Under the Act, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 is amended to require all landlords (private and social) to ensure that their properties, including any common parts of the building, are fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout. The Act states that there is an implied agreement between the tenant and landlord at the beginning of the tenancy that the property will be fit for human habitation.
The government wants to support the majority of good landlords who provide decent and well-maintained homes. Landlords who do not maintain safe properties prevent the operation of an effective and competitive rental market where all landlords operate on an equal footing. This Act provides an additional means for tenants to seek redress by giving them the power to hold their landlord to account without having to rely on their local authority to do so.
The government expects standards to improve as tenants will be empowered to take action against their landlord where they fail to adequately maintain their property. This will level the playing field for the vast majority of good landlords who are already maintaining homes fit for human habitation without serious hazards, by ensuring that they are not undercut by landlords who knowingly and persistently flout their responsibilities.