New rules allow tenants to take legal action against landlords
The Home (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 covers private and social renters, as long as tenancy agreements are less than seven years in duration.
The act allows tenants to sue their landlords or letting agents if they fail to ensure that a home is fit for human habitation from the beginning or throughout a tenancy. This means landlords could be sued if they fail to fix any serious problems in a rental property, such as damp.
As well as being able to take a landlord or letting agent to court, the new rules allow tenants to claim compensation and to force landlords to resolve any problems that arise at a property.
The new rules will apply to all new or renewed domestic tenancies that are agreed on or after 20 March 2019.
Existing ‘Fixed-Term Tenancies’ will fall under the requirements of the act when they are renewed. Meanwhile, existing ‘Periodic Tenancies’ have 12 months until they will need to comply on 20 March 2020.
ARLA Propertymark, a professional body for letting agents, welcomed the new rules. Its chief executive David Cox commented: “This new legislation will give renters greater protection against criminal operators and means they will now be able to take direct legal action if their agent or landlord does not comply.”