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Author: Rent Guarantor

16/03/2020

On March 20 2020, the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 comes into force across all secured and assured shorthold tenancies in the UK. Following this update, an online student magazine is encouraging its readers to go 'lawsuit crazy' and sue their landlords if the home they rent isn't kept to a good standard.

The Homes Act 2018 was created to ensure that landlords don’t allow their rental properties to fall into disrepair. It should also give all tenants, whether they rent in the private sector, their local council or a housing association, the right to live in a safe environment that is fit for human habitation.

Act lists 29 problems it helps to stop

In 2019, the Homes Act came into effect for new tenancies signed after March 20th. Now, from March 2020, the law will apply to all secured and assured shorthold tenancies, regardless of when they were signed. The only exception is a fixed term tenancy signed after March 20th 2019, the rules won’t apply until that fixed term period ends.

As the name of the law suggests, it is here to help ensure all residential tenants live in a rental home that is fit for human habitation and not dangerous or harmful to their health.

Some 29 separate problems are listed by the Government as grounds for complaint:

  • damp and mould growth
  • excess cold
  • excess heat
  • asbestos and manufactured metal fibres
  • biocides (chemicals that treat mould)
  • carbon monoxide
  • lead
  • radiation (from radon gas, which is airborne or in water)
  • uncombusted fuel gas (leaks in gas appliances)
  • volatile organic compounds (chemicals which are gases at room temperature)
  • crowding and space
  • entry by intruders (such as not having a lock on your front door)
  • lighting
  • domestic hygiene, pests and refuse (including inadequate provision for disposal of waste water and household waste)
  • noise
  • food safety
  • personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage
  • water supply
  • falls associated with bath or shower
  • falls associated with stairs and steps
  • falls on the level (danger of falling on a flat surface)
  • falls between levels (danger of falling from one level to another, for example, falls out of windows)
  • electrical hazards
  • fire and fire safety
  • hot surfaces and materials
  • collision and entrapment
  • explosions
  • physical strain associated with operating amenities (i.e. very heavy doors)
  • structural collapse and falling elements

 

 

If you’re experiencing any of these problems with your rental home you have grounds to request the landlord or letting agent makes efforts to remedy the problem. If they don’t make an attempt, or if after some time the problem remains, then as a tenant you are entitled to compensation as the home you’re renting isn’t considered for human habitation.

Go lawsuit crazy!

While many student homes are well maintained and comfortable to live in, there are, as with all sectors, some student homes that require improvement works. Online student magazine The Tab, suggests that many of its readers live in rental accommodation which has some serious problems, including mould, being cold or even a vermin issue.

“That means you can actually claim money back for your new student house that ended up a little bit less than perfect (rats don’t count as a fun extra flatmate, stop lying to yourself), if it’s bad enough,” the articles states.

It ends with: “Time to gather up all of your mice and volatile organic compounds and go lawsuit crazy!”

While that’s not the exact phrasing we would use for tenants living in rental homes that need more than a little TLC, its certainly important to know that there is now more support for tenants who need to urge their landlords into action.