Homes Fitness for Human Habitation Act 2018

The Homes Fitness for Human Habitation Act 2018 requires landlords who rent properties in England to ensure that their properties are fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout the tenancy. The Act amends the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (LTA 1985) to imply a term into a lease of a property in England that the property is fit for human habitation (s9A LTA 1985).  The implied term does not require the landlord to:

  • keep in repair or maintain anything which the tenant is entitled to remove from the property or carry out works or repairs for which the tenant is responsible e.g. the tenant’s duty to use the property in a tenant like manner or where the property is deemed unfit for human habitation as a result of the tenant’s own breach of covenant;
  • rebuild or reinstate the property in the case of destruction or damage by fire, storm, flood or other inevitable accident or to carry out works or repairs which would put the landlord in breach of any obligation imposed by legislation;
  • carry out works or repairs requiring the consent of a superior landlord or other third party in circumstances where consent has not been obtained following reasonable endeavours to obtain it.

The implied term applies to a lease for a term of less than seven years and certain secure tenancies under section 13 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

In order to decide whether a property is fit for human habitation the court will consider the following:

  • whether the property has been neglected and is in serious disrepair;
  • whether the property is structurally stable and the layout of the property is safe;
  • whether the property is free from damp. Dampness will only constitute unfitness if it is serious and prejudicial to health;
  • whether the property has adequate provision for lighting and ventilation;
  • whether the property has an adequate supply of hot and cold water and an effective system for the drainage;
  • whether the property has satisfactory facilities for preparing and cooking food;
  • whether the property contains a hazard prescribed in regulations under section 2 of the Housing Act 2004. 

Where a landlord fails to provide a property fit for human habitation the tenant can take action through the courts for breach of contract. The court may order the landlord to take action to remedy the hazard and to pay damages to the tenant. Further guidance is available in Letting Factsheet No.49 and on the Government website ‘Guide for landlords: Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018.’