The title of the Act provides a lot of insight into what landlords can expect. Landlords are now required to offer a rental property that is fit for human habitation. The property must be in this condition at the start of the tenancy, and throughout the let.
The Act applies to:
- Tenancies lasting no longer than seven years which come into effect on or after 20th of March
- New introductory, assured or secure tenancies which go into force on or after 20th of March
- Fixed-term tenancies which go into effect on or after 20th of March
Landlords who are not currently affected by the Act should be aware that as of the 20th of March 2020, the Act will apply to all tenancies.
It is natural some landlords will have concerns as to what impact this will have on them. However, even in the case where the rental property isn’t fit for human habitation, it may not be the landlords' fault. If the tenant has caused the damage, the tenant’s possessions, an “Act of God” or when the tenant isn’t an “individual”, the landlord will not have to make improvements to the home.
The Act applies to the dwelling and any communal areas where the landlord has an interest. The court will determine if a rental property isn’t fit for human habitation based on Section 10 if the Tenant Act 1985.
Look out for these problems
Some of the issues that landlords should be on the lookout for including damp, unstable structures, ventilation issues, a lack of natural light, problems with hot and cold running water, problems with cooking food, problems with washing up.
A court can order improvements at a rental property and can also force the landlord to pay compensation to the tenant. The judge has discretion concerning how much compensation a landlord has to pay. Aspects the judge will consider includes any damage caused to the tenant, how long the property was unfit for human habitation and how poor the condition of the property is.
It is essential to be aware that most landlords in Streatham will not be affected by this. However, with the Act providing tenants with the right to sue a landlord, it makes sense that landlords are aware of this new development.
If you are looking for assistance in letting property, come and speak with the local experts. At Oaks Estate Agents, we are pleased to say we have helped many landlords in Streatham care for their property and look after tenants. If you require this assistance, get in touch, and we will be happy to help you.