Being a landlord has become a legal minefield and the Homes Act 2018 is the latest legislation to watch out for.
The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 follows quickly on the heels on the introduction of tax changes affecting landlords, as well as the tenant fee ban which came into effect on 1st June, which also has a knock-on effect to landlords.
If you are a professional landlord you are likely to already be aware of these changes, but many accidental landlords are not.
It is nothing ground-breaking – it simply restates that landlords must ensure their properties are fit for human habitation throughout the duration of the tenancy.
The real changes this Act brings are the resources available to tenants if their landlord fails to uphold these standards.
Under the new Act, if tenants have notified their landlord correctly about any issues and they have been neither fixed nor responded to in a timely manner, the tenants are empowered to take Court action.
This could result in legal enforcement of repair work and/or compensation paid to the tenants for having to live in a property which is not fir for habitation.
Additionally, landlords could incur significant legal costs if they choose to contest actions taken against them which, in some instances, may be unjust.
The law continues to favour tenants and leaves landlords with the ultimate responsibility for their properties, including any issues that are caused by their tenants eg noise and smells coming from their property.
Generally, disputes are settled amicably without the need to go to Court but, in some instances, court action is taken and whether you are defending yourself as a landlord or pursuing legal action in relation to your property (eg gaining possession), it is rarely inexpensive.
Regardless of how many properties you rent out, or if you own properties through a limited company it is advisable that you contact and take advice from a reputable insurance broker/company to support you in the unlikely event of legal action. Legal assistance insurance products are often overlooked when purchasing insurance for investment property but should you come to need them they could save you thousands of pounds.
To discuss further please contact the Hazells office using firstname.lastname@example.org or 01284-702626 and speak with either Andrew or Chris.
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This article was spotted in the Summer 2019 Telegraph publication by the Alan Boswell Group and gives a good overview of the impact of the Homes Act 2018. Contact details are 01603 967967 www.alanboswell.com