Residential Landlords Association (RLA)
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Fitness for Human Habitation Act extension-one month to go

On 20th March 2020 the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act will be extended to apply to existing tenancies in England.

The law was introduced in March last year, to ensure rented homes are safe and secure-with tenants given the power to take their landlord to court if this is not the case.

Tenants who signed contracts on or after 20 March 2019 were able to use the act right away – landlords must ensure their property is fit for human habitation at the start of the tenancy and then maintain this standard throughout rest of the time the tenant lives in the property.

As of March 20, 2020 rules will be extended to cover existing statutory periodic tenancies in England.

What is meant by ‘fit for human habitation’?

It is important to note that fit for human habitation does not mean that there is a defect in the property. It means that there is a defect in the property that is so serious that a court considers the property to be unfit for that person to live in.

This is an important distinction because it means that the property has to be judged on the basis of the property condition as it is, and whether it is unsuitable for the actual person who lives in it as opposed to the generic tests applied by local authorities using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. As a result, a younger, fitter tenant living on their own would have a higher threshold for what is unfit for them to live in than an older person or someone with a young family.

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