Following the passing of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 into law, as of the 20 March 2019 it will be a legal requirement for all social and private sector landlords, or agents acting on their behalf, to ensure that a property is fit for human habitation at the beginning and for the duration of the tenancy.
Can you believe it's taken until 2019 to make this a legal requirement!? As an agent who has worked in several different countries and varying areas of deprivation, I find it shocking that this basic human right is only just being seen as worthy of legal protection.
When I used to live near Nantwich, I rented a property from one of the local market leaders. Everything was great on the initial viewing - a beautiful 2 bedroom Victorian terrace with views over the fields to the rear. After a couple of months, mould and damp patches began to appear... then we began to uncover new issues on an almost daily basis. Fortunately for me, I work in the industry and had enough cards up my sleeve to withhold rent and force their hand - the average tenant may not have been so lucky or aware of their rights.
This new law will cover areas such as:
Too often, landlords and managing agents have gotten away with quick-fixes where the problem is covered rather than resolved in order to save costs. The time has come to stop this practice and weed out these poor property (un)professionals!
I'm fortunate enough to work for a company that has their property management team in-house rather than outsourced, as many lettings agents do. Some other agents would consider our team to be excessive, but we feel it is paramount to the service we offer our landlords and tenants. In my opinion, it is an integral part of your 'must-haves' when choosing an agent... especially now this new law has (belatedly) arrived. As long as this new law doesn't end up increasing rents for tenants, I can only see this as a positive step forward.