Luton Borough Council was prosecuted by the HSE late last year following an incident at a high school in which an assistant headteacher was attacked by a pupil and left with life-changing injuries.
On 20 December 2018, we saw The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 (The Act) receive Royal Assent with introductory changes implemented on 20 March 2019.
After a year’s grace, The Act now amends the current implied “fitness obligations” under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, so it will apply to all new and existing periodic or secure tenancies as from 20 March 2020.
What does that mean for you as a Registered Provider and/or a local authority landlord?
The new Section 9A(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 requires you to let properties that are “fit for human habitation”. You must ensure that all dwellings let under an assured (shorthold) or secure tenancy are:
- fit for human habitation at the time the lease is granted or otherwise created or if later, at the beginning of the term of the lease; and
- will remain fit for human habitation during the term of the lease.
This covenant will also apply to all parts of the building that you hold an interest or estate in, e.g. common parts or retained parts (the outside walls, windows and roof). Should you fail to comply, then your tenants will have a right to take action.
There are of course exceptions and/or potential defences that you can rely on which include the following:
- Where “unfitness” has been caused by a tenant’s failure to behave in a tenant-like manner.
- Where the damage has been caused by an inevitable act e.g. fire, storm or flood.
- Where carrying out works requires a third party consent or where by carrying out the work you would be breaching other regulations and/or enactments, for example, planning permission and/or buildings consent.
What does “fit for habitation” cover?
The amended Section 10 comprises of a list of conditions that could make a property “unfit for human habitation” and that list includes:
- freedom from damp
- internal arrangement
- natural lighting
- water supply
- drainage and sanitary conveniences
- facilities for preparation and cooking of food and for the disposal of wastewater and any prescribed hazard.
We expect to see the volume of claims for compensation being brought by tenant’s solicitors to increase rapidly which will impact on your budgets and capacity to carry out works.
Consequently, we have already seen a revised version of The Pre-Action Protocol for Possession Claims by Social Landlords. The renaming of the protocol is arguably the most obvious change. The protocol has now been renamed, the “Pre- Action Protocol for Housing Condition Cases (England)”. In addition, all references to ‘housing disrepair’ have been replaced by “housing conditions” throughout.
Apart from some very minor wording tweaks in Annex A and B, the protocol remains the same. It is also important to note that the Pre-Action Protocol for Housing disrepair in Wales has remained the same.
For more information
This ebriefing looks at the proposal to set out 'public procurement principles' in the proposed procurement legislation.
Happy New Year - our first newsletter of 2021! Throughout this year we will continue to bring you news and developments relating to the charities sector.
Local authorities should be wary of reserving contracts for local suppliers, as recommended by Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 11/20. Other contracting authorities may want to maximise their use of this
Most housing practitioners have perhaps been waiting for this news since the latest lockdown was announced by the Prime Minister on 4 January 2021.
Climate change and biodiversity is an area where significantly faster changes are needed on a global and local basis.
Chris Lloyd Smith, Adrian Leonard and Lisa Whitehouse discuss the planning opportunities available to owners of businesses and how to prepare for unforeseen events.
In their 3rd podcast of the series, Chris Lloyd-Smith and Maria Ramon discuss a number of problems with and difficulties that can arise in mediation and the mechanisms they use to overcome them.
Our previous round-up began by sharing the news that two vaccines had shown very promising test results. Here we are, not even a month later, and the first vaccines have already been administered!
The Covid-19 crisis has demonstrated that there is great resilience and innovation in the housing sector across Greater Manchester, it has also brought shortfalls and other priorities sharply into foc
To receive invitations to our events, as well as information and articles on legal issues and sector developments that are of interest to you, please sign up to Newsroom.