New Disrepair Legislation Introduced For Existing Tenancies

Ensuring that their properties are kept in a good state of repair has never been more important for landlords than right now, with the New Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 coming into force for existing tenancies on March 20th.

The move means that it is now easier for both private and social renters to take legal action against landlords for disrepair issues, with tenants now able to legally compel their landlords to fix any of the 29 housing health and safety rating system hazards (HHSRS), which include damp and mould, poor natural lighting and ventilation, and fire safety issues, among others.

According to Inside Housing, the Act was rolled out for new tenancies at the beginning of March last year, but it has now been applied to all existing periodic tenancies, as well.

Some concerns have been voiced, however, that the legislation doesn’t go far enough and fails to bring in significant new requirements for social landlords beyond health and safety requirements and the Decent Homes Standard.

A recent English Housing Survey found that there are currently 223,131 social homes in England that have a category 1 hazard under the HHSRS, as well as 678,192 homes in the same position in the private rented sector – and it’s likely that many of these will fail to comply with the new legislation.

The government has published HHSRS guidance to help landlords and other property-related professionals ensure they’re meeting all their responsibilities where property maintenance is concerned.

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