After being put forward and initially rejected some years ago, the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018was successfully passed in December 2018.

The Act includes several essential measures which will affect how landlords let their properties to tenants.

How the bill was passed

The Act's main aim is to ensure that all rental properties are 'fit for human habitation' before and throughout the duration of a tenancy agreement. It is hoped that these requirements will protect vulnerable tenants and work towards eradicating issues such as cold, damp and unsafe living conditions in rental accommodation.

If a rental property is not fit for human habitation, the Bill gives tenants powers to take legal action against their landlord in the courts for a breach of contract.

Labour politician Karen Buck first launched the Bill in 2016, but it was rejected. The Westminster North MP then relaunched the Bill in July 2017 after securing cross-party support for her proposals.

A second reading of the Bill in the House of Commons took place in January 2018, with the proposal becoming law in December 2018.

Analysis and reaction

As well as support from MPs, industry trade bodies, including the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and ARLA Propertymark, also endorsed the Bill at the time.

The RLA supported it as it clarified that if a property becomes unfit for human habitation due to tenants' actions, the landlord is not liable.

The organisation also suggested that giving tenants powers to effectively police the private rental sector themselves and take legal action against poor conditions will be welcome in the face of Government and local authority cuts

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