A leading landlords’ association says it is worried that the looming Fitness for Human Habitation legislation may encourage some tenants to take their landlords to court just to win compensation.
The new legislation is due to become law next week on the 20th March.
“As with any new regulations time will tell exactly how it is interpreted by the courts, and whether there are unintended consequences,” the Residential Landlord Association says.
“We will be monitoring the implementation of the Act to assess whether vexatious cases are being brought against landlords.”
The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 is designed to help tenants living in dangerous and unhealthy conditions, and ensure irresponsible landlords improve their properties or leave the business.
Guidance from the government says that if a rented house or flat is not ‘fit for human habitation’, tenants can take their landlords to court.
The court can make the landlord carry out repairs or put right health and safety problems and also make the landlord pay compensation to the tenant.
Also, the guidance makes it clear that letting agents are to get caught up in the act’s provisions, which says tenants should phone or email their letting agents as well as their landlord to have their homes improved prior to court action, and inform them once a hearing date has been set.
But the legislation is only for new tenancies. Tenants who signed rental agreement before 20th March must wait two years to be covered by the legislation.