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Last edited 07 Jun 2021
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018
Referred to as the Homes Act, the legislation protects tenants in rented properties - ensuring that they are ‘fit for human habitation’. It gives tenants the right to take legal action, including applying for a refund of up to 12 months’ rent if landlords fail to address health and safety hazards.
Any tenant who signed a new tenancy agreement (for a home, either the one they are currently living in, or a new home, or anyone whose tenancy becomes a periodic tenancy on or after 20 March 2019) from 20 March 2019 to 20 March 2020 is eligible to use the Homes Act. This includes tenants who sign tenancies of less than seven years. Any tenant on the fixed term of a private tenancy that began before 20 March 2019 cannot use the Act until the end of that fixed term.
The Homes Act makes landlords responsible for providing homes that meet an acceptable standard. It grants local authorities the ability to take action against landlords and agents who let unfit properties. This can include fixed financial penalties of up to £30,000 and banning orders – possibly for life – for the most serious offenders.
- Extending mandatory licensing for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to improve living conditions of tenants in shared homes.
- Tightening up rules on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Requiring electrical installation safety inspections every five years.
- Reviewing the rating system used by local authorities to assess the presence of serious risks to the health and safety of occupants.
Guidance regarding eligibility and additional details is available from the Guide for tenants: Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Carbon monoxide detector.
- Converting commercial offices to residential accommodation.
- Electrical safety.
- Electrical safety in the private rented sector.
- House in multiple occupation.
- Landlord and Tenant Act.
- Property disrepair and landlord liabilities.
- Schedule of condition of property.
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