Fitness of Properties
There have been a number of pieces of legislation concerning the health and safety of rented properties with the overarching legislation being that of Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 (specifically that of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System). The HHSRS process requires inspectors to examine properties for health and safety defects that include fire risk, damp, overcrowding, poor lighting, and pests. Once the defects are identified they consider the likely harm that could happen as a result of such findings and use a scoring system to determine the seriousness of such defects of which there are 29.
There is now new legislation in the form of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 which is now law. It creates a new duty on all residential landlords under s10 of the Act (repair, stability, freedom from damp, internal arrangement,natural lighting, ventilation, water supply, drainage and sanitary conveniences) by implying a covenant (promise) into a residential tenancy to ensure that the property is fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout. The term ‘fitness for human habitation’ is defined in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 which states that ‘a property is to be regarded as unfit for human habitation if it is “so far defective in one or more of those matters that it is not reasonably suitable for occupation in that condition”.