Fitness for Human Habitation Act came into force in March 2019. From then on, landlords are obliged to make their properties “safe, healthy and free from things that could cause serious harm”. However, if for any reason a rented home or flat poses health and safety hazards and concerns tenants can take their landlords to court.
From 20th March 2020 an extension to Fitness for Human Habitation Act will be introduced. Anyone who signed their tenancy agreement before March 2019 will also be able to use the Homes Act from 20th March 2020.
Nevertheless, the act in general does not apply to people who only have a “licence to occupy”, as opposed to the tenancy agreement. It also does not apply to some people in temporary accommodation or to some home guardians.
How to Use Fitness for Human Habitation Act
First of all, you need to write to your landlord and ask them to solve the problem. In the letter, describe the situation and give any details of other correspondence you may already have had with the landlord about your issue. It is also a good idea to explain how the problem with your home is affecting you. Keep a copy of the letter to potentially take to court.
Then you can start the court process. To find out how to do that please take a look at the government guidance here. In preparation for court proceedings, gather all your evidence. This could be any letter and email exchange with the landlord, photographs, doctor’s notes, receipts of items you replaced or a report from an expert who assessed the problem. If you are concerned you do not have sufficient evidence, you can contact your local council’s environmental department and ask them to inspect your home and make a report. It’s best to obtain and collet as much information. This is because when your case goes to court you will be required to provide the court with proof and description of your issue. You will also have to send your evidence together with your form. However, you need to keep copies of it all.
After you have sent your form and your evidence, the court will send you a date for your hearing. You will have to attend the hearing where the court will look at your evidence. If you are successful at the hearing the court may order your landlord to fix the problem. The court may as well make your landlord pay you compensation