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22 March 2019, 10:50
Renters are about to be given a lot more rights.
From today – March 22 – renters in England and Wales can take their landlords to court over a number of housing issues, including mould and damp.
The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act – which will amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 – means that landlords must make sure their properties meet certain standards.
These standards must be consistent from the beginning of the tenancy and throughout.
If a case goes to court, the elements that are considered include whether the building is unstable, if there’s a problem with damp, if it has an unsafe layout or there is not enough natural light.
Others include whether there is not enough ventilation, problems with the the drainage or the lavatories as well as whether the building is in bad condition.
There are 29 hazards all together which you can see here.
In March 2020, the same rules will also apply to residents with a month to month or week to week tenancy.
Chief executive of Shelter, Polly Neate, said, “The Fitness for Human Habitation Act will give social and private renters the power they need to tackle bad conditions, which is why so many campaigned hard for it to be passed as law.”
She continued: “With millions of people and families now living in rented homes, we desperately need better protections in place for renters when things go wrong.
"This new Act will help to enforce best practice for landlords and letting agents, act as a deterrent against bad behaviour, and provide a legal lever for renters to pull if their landlord isn’t complying.”
Polly finished by adding: “To make sure everyone renter has access to justice, the Government must also ensure legal aid is available. Legal aid means that everyone who needs to, can afford to challenge the poor or dangerous conditions that wreak havoc on people’s lives.”