Campaigns Environment, Safety and Standards Regulation and Enforcement

Fitness for Human Habitation Act now in force: what landlords need to know

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

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.

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.


  • My house has been damp mouldy unfit to live in for over 4 years and the landlord new charter has done nothing despite making me depressed. My son has asthma. What can i do?. They don’t return my calls. Its and assured shorthold which is up this September after 5 years. They told me id have to stay if the landlord didn’t want it back. I do not want to stay in it. Its mouldy leaking ceilings bad wiring rusty radiators leaking tiolet the list is endless. Please do you have any advice

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.