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  • Legal FAQs

    Concerns - "Fitness for Human Habitation" Act

    I understand that under the new Fitness for Human Habitation Act private tenants can receive a refund of up to 12 months’ rent if the landlord does not deal with health and safety hazards in their home.

    It occurred to me that unscrupulous tenants may bring false and unjustified claims (with the aid of no win no fee solicitors) before the court to try and make a fast buck out of their landlord.

    Does anyone know of the safeguards in place to protect landlords against frivolous and unjustified claims by tenants or am I worrying too much?

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    Safeguards - your having a laugh aren't you. The Act was written free of charge by a Legal Aid lawyer.

    It could be more than 12 months worth of rent,  the Civil claim for damages is open to the court to decide,  and don't forget,  you'll have to pay the Tenants legal bill when he wins.

    But that's not the worse of it. !

    What qualifies for a claim of  UNFITNESS for Habitation ( is nothing of the sort )  its ANY  Category 2  HHSRS hazard. -   Now for the worse aspect, in my opinion -

    Tenants who are being served eviction Notices by their landlord, will seize upon issues of condensation, mildew etc (  typical Tenant lifestyle caused issues )   and seek Legal Aid to bring a Damages claim.  This will likely halt and severely delay Possession proceedings.    Whilst the Act precludes defects that are caused by a Tenant,  Landlords know how hard that can be to prove.

    At best,  a Possession claim is likely to take more than twice as long, and if a Landlords wins,  it will be Taxpayers that pay for the case ( that's likely to be Landlords, and not benefit Tenants )

    Those who have praised the Act have been short-sighted in the dangers for landlords, and they pretty much include most in the landlord community.   Karen Buck the Act's architect has been invited on panels to speak to Landlords,  yet she's gone on record saying she's aiming to widen legal aid for ALL Tenant issues !

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    Safeguards - your having a laugh aren't you. The Act was written free of charge by a Legal Aid lawyer.

    *I edited this post in the interests of accuracy on 16/2/19 @ 12.25*


    Hi Chris, As you are a supporter* of the National Landlord Alliance and a supporter of their ill-advised campaign against Shelter, I can see your thinking is clearly along the lines that tenants don't deserve or warrant any kind of legal representation or protection from rogues.  Your modus operandi seems to be to deride anyone or any organisation who works to improve standards and support tenants against rogues.

    If a landlord has done nothing wrong and has acted within the law and has kept a documentary trail of evidence, then they have nothing to fear from any form of legislation or charity helping tenants.

    As stated before, being a landlord has business risks associated with it.  A delinquent tenant is one of those risks.  The smart landlord ensures that they cannot be caught out by one.  If they are, take it on the chin.  It's a business risk.  You cannot enjoy all the benefits of being a landlord without being exposed to some of the risks.

    Yes, it was me who invited Karen Buck MP onto a panel for landlords, because her desire is to raise standards in the PRS.  I share that.  Guilty as charged!


    If you saw some of the conditions rogue landlords put vulnerable people in, then you might be more empathetic towards the people trying to assist them and want to support their efforts and engage with them and let them know that good landlords are on their side, not against them. 

    If all people who wish to raise standards in the PRS joined together and tried to understand one another's views, then that would definitely make the sector a better place for landlords and good tenants, and the rogues and bad tenants would find it harder to operate imho.

    See - Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill 

    As landlord James Fraser says in the interview below - "I can't bear the thought of tenants living in sub-standard accommodation".

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    but there needs to be a fair balance.  there are already plenty of powers to tackle the bad landlords.  so more whole prs wide requirements to get the bad guys isnt the answer.

    at the moment it feels like we are all being persecuted and punished for the crimes of a few.

    and there isnt a binary good and bad landlord grouping...its more nuanced with shades of grey.  it feels like the legislation is overall is setting up every landlord to fail to comply at something and I suspect even your portfolio wont be 100% compliant.  I spoke to a well known nla rep about this and he agreed.

    as for shelter they are totally against the prs.  have you seen this disgraceful shelter propaganda video portraying a landlord as a serial murderer:


    I complained to shelter and never got a response.  I agree that somehow shelter have embedded themselves in government (in a way that landlord groups cant) and there doesnt seem to be much that can be done about it.  I dont understand how shelter can be a charity as they dont provide any housing and they are so overtly political.

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    Just a propaganda video.  More fool the tenant who would rent such a disgusting flat from such a vile individual.  People have a choice and they can exercise it via their wallet.

    No one would be forced to rent such a disgusting property, and its stupid to suggest otherwise.  The father is the idiot in this video for not removing his family immediately. People are not dumb.

    For the record, I have experienced delinquent tenants - sometimes I won, sometimes I lost out - all part of the rich tapestry and risk of being a landlord.  I take a pragmatic view, not try and blame others or come up with conspiracy theories.  I try and find common ground to solve problems, not point out differences.  Something can be built on common ground.

    I won't attack any entity that has a role in protecting vulnerable people from rogues.  If the NLAlliance had some solid statistics on how many "good" landlords had been affected by Shelter's work as opposed to "rogues", then that might make some more credible reading and garner more support.  However, the NLAlliance seems more like a personal attack by a handful of aggrieved people than any campaign built on evidence of wide-reaching wrong-doing.

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    hi vanessa,

    do you think that video is acceptable?  you reply as though these are real characters and a real flat.  they are of course not.

    you say its just a propaganda video, but propaganda is very powerful.  without the shelter propaganda landlords would not be so unfairly vilified.  

    is this the publicity info. video you would expect from a responsible organisation embedded in government with registered charity status?  what does it achieve?  what is its purpose?  why didnt they show real flats or real landlords rather than using actors.

    you say people are not dumb and can exercise choice...  I agree.  so that fool of a landlord in your video above who wants all rentals to be of a 'high standard' wishes to remove choice.  not all rentals should be high standard... high standard costs, and not everyone can afford high standard.

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    The video is laughable and a waste of the charity's money - that is the real issue.

    How can the landlord mentioned be a fool to want tenants to be able to access compliant and safe homes?  Even the cheapest properties for rent should be compliant and safe.  That was the point being made.

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    you say the video is laughable.  I think its outrageous.  why portray landlord as a serial murderer?  that is the big issue surely?  cant see anything to laugh about.  the waste of money is secondary.

    you are misquoting James Fraser.  twice in your video he refers to 'high quality/ standards' (1.34 onwards).  'high standards' is a higher standard than 'compliant and safe'.  that is my point.

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    You will have to take that up with James Fraser then because I have only ever used the terminology "safe and compliant".

    The Shelter video is so ridiculous it is laughable and that is why no one would take any notice of it.  I respect that people are not dumb and will not fall for such a stupid narrative. 

    However, why not suggest to the NLAlliance that they make enquiries of how much it cost as it was at the very least a mis-use of donator's money imho.

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    I havent a clue who James Fraser is or why he was on your panel?  I wasnt referring to your terminology but his.  I think he is enjoying the oxygen your panel gave him and is clearly self-promoting.  

    people are easily influenced.  if that wasnt true there would be no advertising!

    not heard of the NLAlliance.  yes I hope they continue to bring shelter into line.

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    James Fraser is a well known landlord campaigner and Conservative Councillor and was invited onto the panel because I felt it important to have a landlord's view on the topic.

    The rhetoric you use is almost word for word what the NLAlliance claim.  Apologies for assuming a connection that wasn't there. 

    Interested to think if this poster campaign might succeed in "bringing Shelter into line", especially as you have to guess which charity they are referring to. 

    See - Boycotting Shelter is a bad move

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