Tenants Can Now Sue Landlords If Property Is Damp:
Fitness for Human Habitation Act
Tenants are now entitled to sue to sue their landlord if their property is unfit for human habitation.
If landlords fail to ensure a property is free from an extensive range of problems, including damp and mould, tenants can take their landlord to court and even seek compensation.
The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act was first introduced in 2018; however, it only applied to people who had either signed a new tenancy agreement or whose tenancy became a periodic tenancy (i.e. a month by month or week by week) on or after 20 March 2019.
Since 20 March 2020, everyone who has a secure or assured tenancy, a statutory tenancy, or a private periodic tenancy, can use the Homes Act, regardless of when their tenancy began.
However, if you’re still on the fixed term of a private tenancy that began before 20 March 2019 then you won’t be able to use the act until the end of that fixed term.
The law was introduced as a means of ensuring that landlords don’t let properties descend into rack and ruin – and it’s not just damp and mould though that landlords have to keep on top of.
There are 29 problems in total which could see a property classed as unfit for human habitation:
- damp and mould growth
- excess cold
- excess heat
- asbestos and manufactured metal fibres
- biocides (chemicals that treat mould)
- carbon monoxide
- radiation (from radon gas, which is airborne or in water)
- uncombusted fuel gas (leaks in gas appliances)
- volatile organic compounds (chemicals which are gases at room temperature)
- crowding and space
- entry by intruders (such as not having a lock on your front door)
- domestic hygiene, pests and refuse (including inadequate provision for disposal of waste water and household waste)
- food safety
- personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage
- water supply
- falls associated with bath or shower
- falls associated with stairs and steps
- falls on the level (danger of falling on a flat surface)
- falls between levels (danger of falling from one level to another, for example, falls out of windows)
- electrical hazards
- fire and fire safety
- hot surfaces and materials
- collision and entrapment
- physical strain associated with operating amenities (i.e. very heavy doors)
- structural collapse and falling elements