Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018: A Nuaire Guide for Landlords & LHA
How does the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 affect Landlords and Local Authorities in England?
By Claire Baldwin, Communications Marketing Executive, October 2020
From 20th March 2020, the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 came fully into force for all periodic tenancies.
The law was introduced to ensure that all rented homes are safe and secure at the start of the tenancy, and to remain so throughout. It also gives tenants the right to take their landlord to court if their homes do not comply.
The Act includes issues such as damp caused by lack of ventilation rather than disrepair, as well as infestation and further adds to legal requirements already pre existing within the Housing, Health, and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) which was introduced by the Housing Act 2004 (in force since 2006).
Failure to follow the requirements of the act results in an order by the court commanding the landlord to take action to reduce or remove the hazard, and/or compensate tenants for having to live in a property which was not fit for human habitation.
What are the criteria for the Act?
The courts will decide whether a property is fit for human habitation by considering the matters set out in section 10 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. These are whether:
- the building has been neglected and is in a bad condition
- the building is unstable
- there’s a serious problem with damp
- it has an unsafe layout
- there’s not enough natural light
- there’s not enough ventilation
- there is a problem with the supply of hot and cold water
- there are problems with the drainage or the lavatories
- it’s difficult to prepare and cook food or wash up
- or any of the 29 hazards set out in the Housing Health and Safety (England) Regulations 2005
If a home does not meet these standards, and the property owner does not carry out the necessary repairs or maintenance, tenants will have the right to take them to court where a judge can issue an injunction forcing the work to be carried out.
The court may make decisions on unfitness without expert advice.
Take action to rectify issues before they result in lengthy and expensive court proceedings
Nuaire can help landlords and Local Housing Authorities rectify issues presented by the Act by providing adequate ventilation to the property. Our range of specialist ventilation units resolves many of the hazards set out in Housing Health and Safety (England) Regulations 2005, such as:
- Exposure to radiation (from radon gas, which is airborne or in water)
- Exposure to house dust mites, damp, mould or fungal growths
- Exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)
By fixing the cause of the problem, landlords and Local Authorities can avoid recurring damp and mould issues and reduce the levels of unsafe air pollution in their properties.