How will a Property be defined as `Unfit`
A property that is deemed to be unfit for human habitation was defined in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985: being “so far defective in one or more of those matters that it is not reasonably suitable for occupation in that condition”. The areas covered were comprehensive:-
- Freedom from damp
- Internal arrangement
- Natural lighting
- Water supply
- Drainage & sanitary convenience
- Preparation and cooking facilities and disposal of waste water
The Homes Act 2019, adds “any prescribed hazard”; this gives an implied covenant on landlords to ensure that a property and its common parts are fit for human habitation at the beginning and throughout the duration of the tenancy.
Property visits will become vital to this ongoing maintenance work and being aware of the 29 points in the Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) will be advisable; it is essential a proper inventory is done at the start of the tenancy.
The ultimate decision on fitness will be made by the courts, as they will have the power to order for the property to be made fit and the tenants to be paid compensation.