Fitness for human habitation – What landlords need to know

The fitness for human habitation act (AKA the Karen Buck Bill) came into force on 20th of March 2019, which is an amendment to the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985.

The act requires that any property let by a landlord (private or social) must remain in a state fit for habitation when a tenancy is granted and remains so for its duration.

This act is in place to help protect tenants against negligent landlords, and gives tenants the power to sue their landlords if they are not in compliance with the regulations. The Act covers all tenancies less than seven years in length in both the social and private rented sectors.

What does fit for human habitation mean?
The landlord of a qualifying dwelling is required to ensure that the house is “reasonably suitable for occupation” in respect of the following nine matters:

  1. repair,
  2. stability,
  3. freedom from damp,
  4. internal arrangement,
  5. natural lighting,
  6. ventilation,
  7. water supply,
  8. drainage and sanitary conveniences,
  9. facilities for preparation and cooking of food and for the disposal of waste water;
    and the house shall be regarded as unfit for human habitation if, and only if, it is so far defective in one or more of those matters that it is not reasonably suitable for occupation in that condition.

How can landlords comply with the Fitness for Human Habitation Act?
Landlords who haven’t inspected their rental properties for a while – perhaps because they’re using a managing agent – may find it worthwhile visiting their properties and checking that everything is in order.

Courts will have the authority to order landlords to carry out repairs and they will be able to award damages to tenants.

Are there any exceptions?
Your landlord is responsible for fixing a lot of problems in your home. However, there are some exceptions:

  1. Problems caused by tenant behaviour
  2. Events like fires, storms and floods which are completely beyond the landlord’s control (sometimes called ‘acts of God’)
  3. The landlord will not repair your possessions or furniture belonging to previous tenants
  4. If the landlord hasn’t been able to get permission from certain other people.

Guide for landlords
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/homes-fitness-for-human-habitation-act-2018/guide-for-landlords-homes-fitness-for-human-habitation-act-2018

Guide for tenants
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/homes-fitness-for-human-habitation-act-2018/guide-for-tenants-homes-fitness-for-human-habitation-act-2018

If you would like to know more, or just have a few questions how this may effect you. Call our residential letting agent expert Nicola Bremner (MARLA) on 01252 622550

Ban on Letting Agent fees

The Tenant Fees Act 2019 is coming into effect for all tenancies signed on or after 1st June 2019.

A major change for the lettings industry is coming into effect for all tenancies after 1st June 2019 in England. Called the ‘Tenant Fees Act 2019’, it could cause quite a stir along the way.

The act sets out the governments approach to banning fees paid by tenants in the private rented sector in England. The act is aimed at rebalancing the relationship between tenants and landlords, with the wider aim of making everything fairer, improving quality and creating more affordable rental properties.

From 1st June you cannot require a tenant to make certain payments in connection with a tenancy. You cannot require them to enter a contract with a third party or make a loan in connection with a tenancy.

The only payments that can be charged in connection with a tenancy are:

  1. the rent
  2. a refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than five weeks’ rent where the annual rent is less than £50,000, or six weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above
  3. a refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than one week’s rent
  4. payments to change the tenancy when requested by the tenant, capped at £50, or reasonable costs incurred if higher
  5. payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant
  6. payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and council tax; and
  7. A default fee for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device, where required under a tenancy agreement

For further details on the ACT check out the information on the legislation.gov.uk website
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2019/4/enacted

The landlords guild also have a good article
https://www.landlordsguild.com/understanding-the-tenant-fees-act-2019/

Guidance
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tenant-fees-act-2019-guidance

If you would like to know more, or just have a few questions how this may effect you. Call our residential letting agent expert Nicola Bremner (MARLA) on 01252 622550

Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme becomes a legal requirement

Membership of a Government Approved Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme becomes a legal requirement for all agents in England dealing with residential lettings across England from Monday 1 April.

What is Client Money Protection (CMP)?
Client Money Protect is a client money protection membership scheme designed to protect client money held by property agents and professionals. The member’s clients are protected in the event that the member misappropriates the client money held in the course of running their business.

Is client money protection mandatory?
Yes, mandatory Client Money Protection becomes a legal requirement on April 1st 2019. All property agents will be required to be part of an approved Client Money Protection Scheme.

How can you tell if an Agent is a member?
An agent must display a certificate confirming membership of an Approved CMP scheme both in branch and on the website.

Do you provide a hard copy of your Client Money Handling Procedures?
Yes we do. Please call in to our Lettings branch in Fleet to obtain a copy

Is McCarthy Holden a member?
Yes we are. You can view our certificate here.

Where can I find out more about the scheme?
Mccarthy Holden are members of the property mark scheme. More details can be found at http://www.propertymark.co.uk/working-in-the-industry/member-requirements including:

  • Client Money Protection (CMP)
  • Client Account Reporting
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • Independent Redress
  • Money Laundering Regulations
  • TPO Codes of Practice
  • Company Declaration

Who are propertymark?
See http://www.propertymark.co.uk/about-us/


Check out our ‘Seven step’ tried and tested process for letting your home safely.

For property in Fleet, Hartley Wintney, Camberley, Wokingham, Odiham and surrounding areas.

Call Nicola Bremner (MARLA) on 01252 622550 for a full appraisal of your property now!