When the Homes Bill comes into effect on March 20th, the housing sector will be impacted in several way. One of the biggest impacts the law brings is providing tenants with the ability to take unlawful landlords to court for dangerous and unacceptable housing conditions.
The law will provide landlords with extra responsibility in ensuring their homes are in a fit state to live in. This will apply to both social housing tenants as well as private rental sector tenants. The Homes Bill law is being introduced following recent reports about the poor conditions residents have been forced to live with. This includes houses plagued with damp, mould and mice living in the holes of crumbling walls.
When a tenancy agreement is formed, this makes it clear that it is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure the property is fit for human habitation. This includes preventing hazards such as mould, vermin, broken steps, cold rooms, leaks, exposed electrics and a lack of security.
As the law currently stands, it is up to the local council to provide enforcement action should a landlord fail to respond to a request for repairs. However, from March 20th, these same landlords would fall foul of the Homes Bill and tenants will be able to take them to court and seek compensation. Should a tenant decide to pursue legal action, the landlord would be required to remove or reduce the hazard and also face the prospect of paying compensation damages.
If you are a tenant that is affected by such a situation, it’s advised that you take appropriate measures to support your case. This may include keeping receipts of additional costs accrued as a result of the hazard and a record of complains you’ve made to the landlord regarding the issue. A doctor’s note may also help build your case in documenting how the housing disrepair issues have affected your health.