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Housing Disrepair – Landlords’ responsibilities

MJV&Co
by MJV&Co

Important new housing disrepair law is coming into operation and it could affect you. If you are a landlord or tenant of a rented property, you should be aware of the changes.

Previously, landlords’ repairing obligations extended to the repair and maintenance of the structure, service media and so forth. This included the roof, brickwork, doors, windows and pipework. Problems regarding the design of the house were not covered. These were not considered to be the landlord’s obligation to repair and so many claims were rejected as housing disrepair claims.

On 20 March 2019, the Human (Fitness For Habitation) Act 1998 comes into law. It breathes new life into Section 8 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. Now, landlords have to ensure a house is fit for habitation. That has always been taken to mean ensuring that the house does not pose a risk to health.

Case Study

Mr Smith lives in a rented house built in 1920. That was before gas central heating and electric showers. There are no problems with the windows, roof or brickwork, but the upstairs suffers from thick black mould. The mould could be dangerous if breathed in. He has complained and his landlord sent a workman. The report on the cause blamed moisture and condensation caused by modern living in an old house.

Currently, Mr Smith would not have a claim. The report suggests fitting extractor fans or a ventilation system, but to fix a design problem rather than to undertake repairs that are the landlord’s responsibility.

From 20 March 2019, provided Mr Smith can prove that the mould is a potential danger to his health, the landlord will be obliged to take the steps required by the report. While the problem is not caused by their failure to do repairs, that no longer matters. They are letting a property and have a duty to ensure it does not pose a health risk.

What to do?

If you have made a housing disrepair complaint against your landlord, particularly if you have previously been advised that you do not have a housing disrepair claim, it is worth seeking fresh advice.

At MJV Solicitors we are happy to help any potential client who thinks they may have a claim.

If your property is affected by damp, mould or other such matter that could damage your health, but that the landlord has claimed is not their responsibility, you should call us on 01253 858231.

We have been working with an expert surveyor to agree a claims pathway for claims under the new act that will maximise your chances of success and the compensation you may receive if your landlord does not co-operate. We can provide all this on a no win no fee basis.