Homes (Fitness For Human Habitation) Act 2018

Posted on Sunday, 7 April, 2019

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, known as the Homes Act, replaces Section 8 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (LTA 1985) in England, with the purpose of improving living standards in the private and social rented sectors.

Under the Homes Act 2018, landlords and letting agents acting on their behalf must ensure properties, including common parts where they have an estate or interest, are fit for human habitation at the beginning and throughout the duration of a tenancy. Tenants will now be able to take direct legal action if their agent or landlord does not comply with the Act.

Under the Housing Act 2004, landlords and agents were not required to ensure their rental properties were free of potentially harmful hazards. Consequently, an offence was only committed where the landlord or agent had failed to comply with an Improvement Notice issued by the
local authority. The tenant could not take their landlord or agent directly to Court and
had to rely on the action of the local authority. Consequently, landlords and agents could legally rent out defective properties, and unless this was addressed by the local authority, they had no requirement to rectify any hazards.

Fitness for human habitation is defined in the LTA 1985. The Homes Act amends this definition to include other dwellings alongside houses.  A property unfit for human habitation is ‘so far defective in one or more  of those matters that it is not reasonably suitable for occupation in
that condition.’  ‘Matters’ refers to: Repair; Stability; Freedom from damp; Internal  arrangement; Natural lighting; Facilities for preparation and cooking of food; Water supply; Drainage and sanitary conveniences; Ventilation; and facilities for the disposal of waste water.

More information can be found on the government website;