Landlords who neglect to keep up good maintenance standards in the properties they rent out can be taken to court by their tenants under a new law.
The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 requires landlords to ensure that they are meeting their existing responsibilities with regards to property standards and safety. The aim is to safeguard tenants from landlords failing to keep their homes in a good state of repair.
The change means buy to let landlords now come under a similar health and safety regime as those running shared houses in multiple occupation.
Tenants can go to a court to claim compensation if their homes are suffering from a list of 29 hazards, including common issues, such as damp and condensation from structural problems.
The legislation demands that a private rented home is free from hazards when a tenant moves in and remains so for the duration of their stay.
The act applies to any tenancy that has run for less than seven years, tenancies renewed for a fixed term and new tenancies.
Hazards arising from the way a tenant uses a home or incidents outside a landlord’s control, such as fire or flooding, are exempt from the new law.
Polly Neate, chief executive of housing charity Shelter said: “The act will give social and private renters the power they need to tackle bad conditions, which is why so many campaigned hard for it to be passed as law.
“With millions of people and families now living in rented homes, we desperately need better protections in place for renters when things go wrong. This new act will help to enforce best practice for landlords and letting agents, act as a deterrent against bad behaviour, and provide a legal lever for renters to pull if their landlord isn’t complying.”