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Call of the Week: Fitness for Human Habitation Act and existing tenancies

Call of the week

We are not far from March 20th where the new Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act will come into force, and our landlord advice team has seen an increase in the number of calls from our members seeking advice in relation to this.

This week’s caller was specifically concerned with making sure he would be compliant from the moment the legislation comes in to force later this month.

The member was worried that he would have to inspect every one of his existing tenancies on March 20th 2019, when the legislation comes into force, and that any of his tenants could take him to court immediately.

Our member had a number of long term tenancies that had been rolling on periodically for a number of years.

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act will make it so that landlords must ensure their property is fit for human habitation at the start of the tenancy, and then maintain this standard throughout the rest of the time the tenant lives in the property.

The legislation does not come into force for all tenancies at the same time however.

After March 20th 2019, any tenancies which are new, or renewed the legislation will apply from the start date of the new tenancy. This will include any statutory periodic tenancies that start after a fixed term comes to an end.

We advised the member that he should check his properties before he started a new tenancy or renewed an existing one as the legislation would bite then.

For the tenancies which were already periodic tenancies, there is a 12-month grace period until March 20th 2020 before these tenancies are caught by the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act.

We advised the member that he should arrange to check these properties before March 20th 2020 to make sure they are still fit for human habitation. 

We also advised him to arrange regular inspections to the property to make sure the property remained so throughout.

Rupinder Aujla, LAT Team Manager, said ‘fitness for human habitation is unlikely to affect many of our landlords, but the Landlord Advice Team is always happy to help our members where needed. We believe our landlords are already keeping their properties to a high standard already and this legislation only reinforces what we already advise our members on.’

Learn more about Fitness for Human Habitation and property standards

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Landlord Advice Team

Landlord Advice Team

On-demand phone support from the RLA Landlord Advice Team is a big feature of RLA membership and is seen by many of our members as the most important service we offer. You can call the Landlord Advice Team in total confidence and be assured that the advice you'll receive is friendly, pertinent, up-to-date and practical.

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