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New law will give tenants the right to sue landlords

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18 Feb 2019

Landlord - Tenant Law


A new law that allows tenants to sue landlords over 'unfit' homes will come into effect next month.


The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act comes will become law on March 20th and means landlords can be taken to court if they don't complete necessary home repairs.


An update of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the new law will apply to tenancies of less than seven years in England and Wales, and will give courts the authority to order landlords to carry out the repairs.

Courts will also be able to award damages to tenants.

Rather than complaining to the local council, tenants will be able to go straight to the court with issues in their properties, such as heating, damp or asbestos, poor ventilation, or problems with drainage and sanitary conveniences.

Landlords can also be sued if the property has noise or lighting issues, or if the facilities for preparation and cooking of food and for the disposal of waste water are not sufficient.


A successful court order might require a landlord to take action to fix the problem or to compensate a tenant with damages.


Housing organisation Shelter said they welcome the legislation, adding the bill covers the "glaring omissions" of previous legislation to include damp and mould.


"Crucially, the bill will help private and social renter’s voices to be heard, by giving them the right to take their landlord to court over unfit and unsafe conditions like these in their home," they said in a statement.


"The bill could help to prevent another tragedy like the Grenfell tower fire. This was the starkest reminder of the dangers of unsafe accommodation."


According to Shelter, there are currently almost one million rented homes with hazards that pose a serious risk to health and safety, affecting 2.5 million people across the UK.


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