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  • In the Spotlight

    Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act



    I thought it might be helpful to curate information for landlords on this topic:

    The Act came into force on 20 March 2019. It is designed to ensure that all rented accommodation is fit for human habitation and to strengthen tenants’ means of redress against the minority of landlords who do not fulfil their legal obligations to keep their properties safe.

    There are no new obligations for landlords under this Act; the legislation requires landlords to ensure that they are meeting their existing responsibilities with regards to property standards and safety.

    Under the Act, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 is amended to require all landlords (private and social) to ensure that their properties, including any common parts of the building, are fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout. The Act states that there is an implied agreement between the tenant and landlord at the beginning of the tenancy that the property will be fit for human habitation.

    The government wants to support the majority of good landlords who provide decent and well-maintained homes. Landlords who do not maintain safe properties prevent the operation of an effective and competitive rental market where all landlords operate on an equal footing. This Act provides an additional means for tenants to seek redress by giving them the power to hold their landlord to account without having to rely on their local authority to do so.

    The government expects standards to improve as tenants will be empowered to take action against their landlord where they fail to adequately maintain their property. This will level the playing field for the vast majority of good landlords who are already maintaining homes fit for human habitation without serious hazards, by ensuring that they are not undercut by landlords who knowingly and persistently flout their responsibilities.

    Government guidance for landlords:



    Discussions:

    Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill 

    Fitness for Human Habitation Abuse ( FFHH )

    Concerns - "Fitness for Human Habitation" Act 

    Videos:



    Interview with Karen Buck MP, originator of the Bill, about standards in the private rented sector:

     
    Other resources:

    Solicitor Giles Peaker's "Thumbnail Guide"

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    Almost half of UK renters say they’ve been injured or suffered illness due to the condition of their home, according to a nationally-representative study* of 1,000 UK renters conducted on behalf of London property maintenance experts Aspect.

    The findings come ahead of new legislation that will make it easier for tenants to sue their landlords. The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act will come into effect on Wednesday March 20th. It’s an amendment to the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985 and is designed to boost standards across the rental sector.

    • Birmingham is the UK’s capital of poor rental health
    • Environmental irritants, damp and mould among the common causes of health issues for UK tenants
    • Allergies, respiratory problems and stress among the most common health problems
    • Renters reported burns, electric shocks, puncture wounds sustained as a result of the condition of their rented home
    • Young tenants disproportionately affected
    • Property maintenance experts blame corner-cutting

    44% of people who are currently renting, or have rented a home in the UK in the past, say the condition of their home has caused them illness or injury, with respiratory problems arising from mould and damp, allergies linked to environmental irritants and illness related to poor heating among the most common complaints. One-in-five (19.4%) renters said the condition of their home had caused them stress or anxiety.

    As well as making their inhabitants ill, badly maintained rental properties have the potential to cause injuries too. 8% say they’ve sustained cuts and scrapes from sharp edges and poorly-fitted fixtures, the same proportion said they’ve experienced an injury from a trip or fall caused by the condition of their home, such as from a loose-fitting carpet or a loose step. 6% have had an electric shock from a landlord-supplied appliance, 4% have experienced puncture wounds and 3% have sustained burns. 4% of UK renters say they’ve experienced a carbon monoxide related illness that they directly attribute to the condition of their home.

    Most commonly reported health and injury issues in UK rental property


    Problem

    percentage of respondents who've experienced this

    Stress/anxiety due to general condition of home

    19.40%

    Illness related to cold environment/poor heating

    14.30%

    Illness related to cold environment/poor heating

    14.30%

    Allergies/reactions related to environmental irritants (fleas, dust mites, bedbugs)

    10.70%

    Lung/respiratory problem from mould/damp

    10.10%

    Stress/anxiety due to vermin/pests

    7.90%

    Cuts and scrapes from jagged edges/poorly fitted fixtures

    7.80%

    Injury from property related trip hazard (loose steps, carpet)

    7.60%

    Interrupted sleep due to vermin/pests

    7.40%

    Electric shocks from faulty appliances/electrics

    6%

    Bacterial infection (e.g. legionnaires disease)

    4.50%

    Puncture wounds from jagged edges/poorly fitted fixtures

    4.10%

    Carbon monoxide related illness

    3.80%

    Burns from faulty appliances

    3.30%

    Renting-related health problems disproportionately affect the young. The youngest renters are 24% more likely to experience illness and injury related to a rental property compared to the national average.

    58% of 18-24 year-olds, 56% of 25-34 year-olds and 54% of 35-44 year-olds have experienced an illness or injury due to the condition of their rented home. That’s significantly higher than the 39% of 45-54 year-old renters and 27% of over-55s who reported the same.

    Rental health around the UK

    London had the most property-related injuries and health problems, but as a proportion of residents, Birmingham came out as the UK’s capital of poor rental health.

    Cities with most property-related illness and injury

    City

    Percentage of residents who've experienced rental property related illness or injury

    Birmingham

    57.58%

    Swansea

    57.14%

    Plymouth

    56.52%

    Leeds

    55.00%

    London

    52.87%

    Cities with fewest property-related illness and injury

    City

    Percentage of residents who've experienced rental property related illness or injury

    Chelmsford

    14.29%

    Oxford

    30.43%

    Liverpool

    31.43%

    Manchester

    31.46%

    Aberdeen

    33.33%

    Says Nick Bizley, commercial director at Aspect:

    “It’s alarming but not surprising that so many UK tenants are reporting health problems directly related to the condition of their home. From first-hand experience, the age imbalance of those suffering ill-health and injury due to the condition of their home can be directly related to the younger age group not being confident enough to bring maintenance issues up with their landlord.

    “Our tradespeople regularly see and report examples of corner-cutting on maintenance, especially where properties have been converted into homes of multiple occupancy, such as a large houses converted into flats, but also at the higher end of the property market too.

    “One of our tradespeople recently discovered a homeowner’s drinking water was being fed from a water storage tank rather than being connected directly to a mains supply. This has been done during extensive refurbishment work at the property. You should never drink water from a storage tank as they provide the right conditions for bacteria, such as legionella, to exist. Our tradespeople warned the customer they should change their plumbing as soon as possible and to not drink water from their taps on the meantime.

    “Our people also regularly see poorly ventilated homes as a direct result of landlords converting large properties into flats without allowing for sufficient ventilation in each subsequent property. This leads to damp, which causes mould, which is proven to have a detrimental impact on health.”

    “Aspect tradespeople have also reported non-isolated gas lines where the entire gas supply was located in the ground floor flat in a block of four. Another shortcut we regularly see is landlord-supplied appliances that haven’t been PAT tested. I think landlords can be ignorant of their obligations so we hope this new legislation will clarify those obligations to ensure homes are fit for habitation and lead to a general improvement for living conditions across the rental sector.”

    The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act - what you need to know

    The Act redefines the obligations of landlords as they relate to the condition of a rented home. Before the new legislation, a landlord would likely be considered in breach of contract if their property was not considered to be in a good state of repair. This typically refers to specific measurable failures, such as broken windows and faulty appliances. The new Act demands that landlords also ensure properties are ‘fit for habitation’, which includes matters such as good ventilation and access to natural light.

    At a glance:


    • Takes effect March 20th 2019
    • It upgrades a landlord’s obligation from keeping a property ‘in repair’ to ‘fit for habitation’ - a key distinction
    • It applies to:
      • all tenancies of up to seven years that started on or after the date on which the Act comes into force
      • All fixed-term tenancies that become periodical tenancies (rolling contract) after March 20th 2019
      • All statutory periodic tenancies, secure tenancies, assured tenancies and protected tenancies in place on March 20th 2019 and up to 12 months after
    • There is no specific definition in the Act of ‘fit for habitation’, but the Act sets out examples of fitness for habitation that include:
      • General state of repair
      • Freedom from damp
      • Natural lighting
      • Water supply
      • Proper ventilation
      • Absence of hazards that pose a health and/or safety risk
    • The Act applies both to the specific residential dwelling named in the tenancy and to any common areas also owned by the landlord, such as shared hallways or entrance,

      You can download the full study here https://www.aspect.co.uk/trades/damp-leaks/
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    Property Tribes is pleased to announce that, in association with our insurance partner Alan Boswell Group, we are showcasing a new type of insurance that will provide protection against tenants abusing the Homes Act.

    The product is called "Landlord Officers and Directors Insurance" and it can be added on to your regular landlord/buildings insurance as an additional level of cover:




    Please contact the Alan Boswell Group team on 01603 649736 to find out more.

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    Seems a  Wooden shed  is 'Fit for Human habitation ' if provided by the local Authority     ?

    Talk about Double standards ! -  aren't local authorities carrying out dawn raids on landlords who provide ' beds in sheds '  ? !

    https://www.kentlive.news/news/uk-world-...ek-2709036

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