The Fitness for Human Habitation Act 2018 came into force on Wednesday 20th March in England.
This means that from now, landlords (or agents acting on their behalf) in England must ensure their rental property is fit for human habitation, both at the beginning and throughout the tenancy.
The RLA has created a guide for landlords on the new Act, which can be read on our website here.
Tenants given the power to take landlords to court
If a property is not fit for human habitation, the new Act gives tenants the power to take their landlord to court, for breach of contract, force them to carry out improvement works, and claim compensation.
This means that landlords can now potentially be sued for damages for the entire length of the contract. This legislation amends the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.
For the tenancies which were already periodic tenancies before the 20th March, there is a 12-month grace period until March 20th 2020 before the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act applies to these tenancies.
Different legislation in Wales. Contrary to some media reports, the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 applies to tenancies that are in England only. In Wales, the scope for fitness for human habitation comes under the Renting Homes Wales Act, which is yet to be implemented in the country.