The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018. Maybe this will be useful for serious disrepair problems and other failures on housing association’s newest properties?

This is not legal advice. Please get legal advice from a solicitor specialising in housing.

This Act comes into force on 20 March 2019. 

It was originally put forward by Karen Buck, the MP for Westminster. It ended up with ‘all party’ support. 

It was aimed at the private rented sector but it appears that residents (tenants, shared owners and leaseholders) of housing associations could take action for disrepair (1). We all know that housing associations frequently fail to carry out appropriate repairs.  

The National Landlords Association say that:

“The Act covers all tenancies less than seven years in length in both the social and private rented sectors. The requirement includes the dwelling let to a tenant and all parts of any building it forms a part of, in which the landlord has an interest. For example the common parts of an HMO or block of flats owned by the landlord. It will extend to all existing tenancies which meet this criteria, including periodic tenancies and legacy regulated tenancies (2).”

Essentially the Act makes it part of the tenancy agreement that the home was fit for human habitation when it was first rented out and remains fit for habitation during the tenancy.

Whether the home is fit for human habitation will be assessed by: the state of repair; stability; freedom from damp; internal arrangements; natural lighting; ventilation; water supply; facilitates for the preparation of food; and the disposal of waste water

The court concerned is the County Court –  not the First Tier Tribunal. 

The problem again is legal aid funding and the housing associations seeking costs against their own residents in legal cases. Residents of housing associations will be aware that housing associations have no hesitation in using their financial strength to attack current residents and will go for costs against residents in legal cases. 

We’ll have to see how this new piece of legislation works out. Keep looking at our website!

A good analysis of the law can be found on the NearlyLegal website (3)

Footnotes:

(1)https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8185

(2)https://landlords.org.uk/news-campaigns/news/homes-fitness-human-habitation-act-2018-becomes-law

(3)https://nearlylegal.co.uk/2018/12/fitness-for-habitation-a-thumbnail-guide/

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