Landlord Update: How will this new legislation affect you?

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New legislation has come in to force that will affect all landlords, whether they are private or social.

What is it?

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 is legislation supplementary to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. It affects all tenancies and leases renewed on or after the 20 March 2019; landlords have until the 20 March 2020 to comply with these regulations for existing tenancy agreements.

How does it is affect me?

This legislation provides that all landlords must inspect and ensure that when a tenancy is entered in to, the property must be fit for human habitation. Landlords must ensure that it remains this way throughout the entire duration of the tenancy. If a landlord fails these responsibilities, tenants have the power to take legal action against their landlords for this breach of contract, on the basis that the property is not fit for human habitation. If a claim is made by the tenant against the landlord, the court decides whether or not the property is fit for habitation. If the property is not fit for human habitation, they would ensure that the landlord addresses the issues and or compel the landlord pay compensation to the tenant.

Separate to the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, landlords should also be aware of the following.

Housing Complaints Resolution Service

All landlords will eventually have to enter the housing redress scheme, it is not known when this will come in to force. However, once in place if a landlord fails to comply they may incur a fine of up to £5,000. The purpose of this scheme is to assist unsatisfied tenants by providing them with an easier and quicker way to address issues when things go wrong.

Electrical Checks

Landlords have a duty to ensure that their property is safe at the start and throughout a tenancy. If a tenant suffers injury or their possessions damaged as a consequence of being in unsafe property, the landlord may be considered negligent. Currently, the law states that only rented houses of multiple occupancy need be checked every five years by a suitably qualified person, who should provide an Electrical Installation Condition Report. If a landlord fails to produce this report to the local authority upon request they can be fined up to £30,000. We would advise that all landlords undertake these checks in order avoid complacency.

Abolishment of Section 21 Notices

A landlord’s fail safe way of obtaining vacant possession at the end of a fixed term contract would be to serve a section 21 notice upon the tenants, thereby giving the tenants two months’ notice to vacate. The notice did not require any justification from the landlord. New legislation may be coming in to force to abolish these ‘no-fault evictions’. Therefore, if a landlord wishes to evict a tenant, they would need to utilise the section 8 notices, which provide an opportunity for tenants to speak against landlords at court. To serve a section 8 notice, the tenant must be in at least two months’ rent arrears, or meet one of the specified grounds set out under section 8. These proposals are still in consultation and it is not known at this stage what the proposed legislation will look like or when it will come into force.

For further information, please contact Annabel Mayer on 01284 727118.


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