The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 received Royal Assent on 20 December 2018 and comes into force on 20th March 2019 which applies to new tenancies (of less than 7 years) including a renewal of an existing tenancy from then. The Act will also apply to a tenancy which was a fixed term tenancy and becomes periodic on or after 20th March 2019. Where the tenancy has become periodic before 20th March 2019, the Act will apply to the periodic tenancy 12 months from commencement (20th March 2020).
The Act applies to any lease under which a dwelling is let wholly or mainly for human habitation for a term of less than 7 years and certain secure tenancies found in section 13(1A) and (1B) Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. For exceptions (none of which are likely to be relevant to our readers) see section 14 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.
Landlords are currently obliged to keep property “in repair”. From 20th March 2019, they are required to ensure that they are “fit for human habitation”.
Although the property must be fit for human habitation at the outset of a tenancy, this obligation extends throughout the entire period of the tenancy too. It is vital that landlords take a proactive approach, with photographic evidence of a property’s condition at the outset and throughout the tenancy as appropriate.
Asbestos in properties – UKATA Duty to Manage
Government statistics say the private rented sector remains the second largest tenure in England, and has grown in the last 20 years. The energy efficiency and quality of the private rented sector has improved considerably, but is still behind the social rented sector.
The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 lists asbestos as one of the matters that could now cause a property to be unfit (only if it so defective that it is not reasonably suitable for occupation) Landlords may benefit from attending a UKATA Duty to Manage course.
The UKATA Duty to Manage course is aimed at any person who requires an overview of the duty to manage and legislative requirements. This would normally include, but is not limited to duty holder’s assistants, appointed persons assistants, building owners, landlords, sub-lessors, managing agents etc.