The Fitness for Human Habitation Act will come into force on 20th March, and it will require all landlords (or agents acting on their behalf) in England to ensure their property is fit for human habitation at the beginning and throughout the tenancy.
If it is not, the Act gives tenants the power to take landlords to court, for breach of contract. The Housing Health and Safety System (HHSRS) (currently under review) will be used to assess whether homes meet the criteria. We have produced a guide for landlords in England on this Act.
While it is still important that ALL home are fit for human habitation, the changes the new Act makes do not apply to Wales. This is because this element comes under Section 91 of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016.
The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 is currently still being consulted, with the previous Welsh Housing Minister Rebecca Evans AM confirming at our Future Renting Wales, that documents relating to the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 will be made available six months before it is enacted,to give landlords the chance to prepare. While no confirmation has been set for this, it is expected to come in no earlier than 2020.
Landlord’s obligation: fitness for human habitation
(1)The landlord under a secure contract, a periodic standard contract or a fixed term standard contract made for a term of less than seven years must ensure that the dwelling is fit for human habitation. This applies on the occupation date of the contract, and also for the duration of the contract.
(2) The reference in subsection (1) to the dwelling includes, if the dwelling forms part only of a building, the structure and exterior of the building and the common parts.
(3) This section is a fundamental provision which is incorporated as a term of all secure contracts, all periodic standard contracts, and all fixed term standard contracts made for a term of less than seven years.