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  • Legal FAQs

    Concerns - "Fitness for Human Habitation" Act

    As an HMO landlord, you are legally required to carry out regular inspections under HMO regulation, so keeping a record of these visits, which you are legally obliged to do anyway, will mitigate your risk as you can prove that you are responsible and checking for disrepair during these visits.

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    Hi Pete

    It depends where the defect giving rise to unfitness is - if it is in a tenanted room, then the tenant has to give notice of the defect and the landlord has a reasonable time to remedy it. If the defect is in the common parts, or to the outside of the building, the landlord is taken to be on notice as soon as it arises, because the landlord retains possession and control of those areas.

    As Vanessa says, a reasonable routine of inspection and fulfilling your obligations under HMO management regulations should suffice to identify any problems, like fire safety for example.

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    Giles Peaker

    Anthony Gold Solicitors


    Hi SDK1971

    That isn't right. People seem to be thinking that Rent Repayment Orders would apply (not surprising, as even the minister, Heather Wheeler, appeared to suggest this on the radio yesterday).

    To be clear, RROs do not apply, so there is no 'refund of up to 12 months rent'. The tenant can bring a claim for damages if the defects causing unfitness have not been remedied by the landlord within a reasonable time.

    Damages would be a proportion of rent for the period affected.. But for an award of damages, the tenant would have to prove that issues with the property made it such that it was 'not reasonably for for human habitation' and that the landlord was liable.

    Frivolous or unjustified claims aren't going to be successful. No 'no win no fee' solicitor is going to take a frivolous or unjustified case on, because they won't get paid.

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    Giles Peaker

    Anthony Gold Solicitors

    I have HMO's and carry out what I term PPM (Planned Preventative Maintenance) visits, what that involves is doing small things to help prevent disrepair and me facing large costs for things I could have prevented.

    Examples are we treat all wastes with drain cleaner, lubricate all locks with WD40 etc as well as checking the fire alarms, replacing broken light bulbs testing all communal area electrical sockets etc.

    What the legislation has motivated me to do is add more things to my check list which I should have probably been doing before, ie we cleaned the electric hob, but didn't check all the rings were working we do now. Same with the oven we cleaned it but didn't turn it on.

    This I see as one of the advantages of individual AST's I have access to the communal areas and can carry out these maintenance visits does take time about 2-3 hours per visit.

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    I have HMO's and carry out what I term PPM (Planned Preventative Maintenance) visits.

    Awesome!  Good on you Ian. Smile

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    Vanessa

    Thanks for the reminder and video regarding LL responsibilities with HMO's. We moved away from our HMO's (retired to south coast) a few years ago, so now employ a 'manager' who is himself a local landlord to do regular visits and inspections. In addition to the paper recording, we receive his report via email which records the time/date of inspections, observations, actions taken, testing alarms, etc Then we email tenants re any concerns, so we can show we're proactive LL's if ever the need arises. We also employ a cleaner and a gardener.

    Giles

    Thanks for some clarification about the position for the HMO LL. So actually, the LL will be ON NOTICE immediately of any 'unfitness to the common parts', and not as I'd feared 'The HMO landlord will have to repair IMMEDIATELY!'. It just seemed to me that LL's are being set up to fail with this legislation, but let's hope that common sense will prevail and that a reasonable time will be allowed for repairs to be carried out. There will still obviously be a time gap between the need for a repair occuring and the LL discovering that need via an inspection. So we will continue with our routines of inspections and maintenance and hope we don't get tripped up (no pun intended!)

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    Seems like I'm not the only Landlord by far that's concerned about ' Spurious claims arising out of this Labour sponsored, tenant focused dafted piece of legislation !

    Alan Boswell Insurance is now advertising on Property Tribes, ( and elsewhere, no doubt )  promoting Landlord legal expenses Insurance - specifically mentioning covering False claims brought by tenants on the FFHH .


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    You are referring to this Chris:

    Protect against legal action by tenants

    There are many business risks inherent in property, and, if it concerns you, then insure against it.

    Property Tribes worked with Alan Boswell Group in regards of introducing this product around the HFHH Act, but it is a very useful product aside from that.

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    Vanessa,

    Are you saying that whilst you supported the FFHH and Giles Peaker's posts,  ( saying you support Karen Bucks initiative on the grounds of raising standards ) you - Property Tribes were actually negotiating with Alan Boswell to provide legal cover for Landlords against ' False - spurious claims ' that I was warning against ?

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    No, I am not saying that at all but always happy to clarify.  This insurance policy was being developed before that, but can be applied in respect to HFHH Act concerns, and when ABG informed us about it at a meeting approx. 2 weeks ago, we thought it would be of interest to the PT community and today seemed like a good day to introduce it.

    Your post on Property 118 is inaccurate - it is not "specifically to protect a landlord against false claims" - however, it would cover the legal fees of that eventuality, amongst others, as per the instances clearly explained in the video.

    ​Perhaps you could be so kind as to amend your comment on P118 accordingly?

    It's notable Chris that, rather than seeing this as an answer to your problem, you appear to want another conspiracy theory to latch on to.  Sorry to disappoint you.

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