Tenants Can Sue Landlords for Cold or Damp Homes
Tenants Can Sue Landlords for Cold or Damp Homes:
In March, new regulations became effective.
The regulations allow renters to sue homeowners for damp, cold and other issues.
Damp conditions happen due to poor ventilation or poor heating system.
With the new rules, these conditions may lead landlords to troubles.
Basically, the landlord must repair or complete the systems at the right time.
If this is not so, the renter can sue them.
At the court, the judge has the authority to issue an injunction.
This injunction will force the landlord to repair the issues.
What prompted the changes?
In general, cold and damp lead to inconvenience.
Also, they can be very unattractive and uncomfortable.
They can cause health challenges or worsen existing ones.
The vulnerable, young, and elderly are the main victims of these issues.
Cold and damp can worsen allergies and skin conditions such as eczema.
Similarly, moulds are capable of causing problems.
They can be responsible for asthma attacks. Sometimes, these attacks may be fatal.
How many individuals stay in unsafe accommodation?
The housing charity Shelter did a survey.
The result shows more than 1 million homes in the UK are unsafe to live in.
In other words, more than 2.5 million individuals stay in unsafe accommodations.
In 1985, the government implemented a new law.
According to the law, the local council was responsible for ensuring homes were habitable.
However, local councils and public services are experiencing cuts.
And this affects the frequency of checks on properties.
In fact, in some cases, there are no checks at all.
This put the tenants in difficult situations.
Absent and bad landlords are capitalizing on the loophole.
It is general knowledge that cold and damp don’t vanish.
They require repairs before they can disappear.
Therefore, the conditions can only become worse over time.
What do the new regulations entail?
The new rule is known as Homes Act.
It is also called Fitness for Human Habitation.
It comes as a replacement for the 1985 law.
Basically, the act is to ensure landlords are accountable for their properties.
This regulation offers renters legal recourse if their homes are not habitable.
With this law, landlords must ensure their houses are in liveable conditions before letting.
Also, the law requires that they keep the standard.
They must do this throughout the duration of the tenancy.
In addition, the act comes with unprecedented regulation.
This involves the coverage of defective design, not just poor maintenance of properties.
Hence, heating issues and poor ventilation are covered.
Infestations of vermin or insects are not left out.
This rule could have a significant effect on the buy-to-let market.
This is because landlords must get rid of any underlying problems.
It is only after doing so that they can add the properties to their portfolio.
Currently, the number of tenants is higher than ever before.
Furthermore, the buy-to-let market is increasing property prices.
Therefore, this rule could cut down the earnings of landlords significantly.
What does the new regulation cover?
The new regulation covers more issues than any preceding laws. Issues that may be included are:
- Internal layout issues
- Waste disposal facilities
- Stability and structural issues
- Water supply problems
- Repair issues
- Food preparation facilities
- Ventilation issues
- Hazards that fall under the Health and Safety Rating Ruling
- Natural light quality
- Drainage and sanitary provisions
Moreover, a new clause also came into effect.
The clause is known as the Grenfell Clause.
This clause lets renters challenge the homeowner over common areas in the properties.
So any tenants can take action whenever they want.
They do not even need the cooperation of others in the property.
Shelter wanted to ensure this law is implemented.
What actions can landlords take?
Generally, landlords need to repair their houses if they have issues.
If damp is the problem, they should contact professionals.
They do not have to wait for complaints from tenants.
They should rather act and deal with any problems on time.
To detect any issues, landlords should inspect their properties regularly.
Sometimes, the landlords may just teach the tenant how to ventilate the home.
As a result, small issues will not become more complicated.
Regular inspections are even more important for older homes.
How long do homeowners have before repairing their properties?
The severity of problems will determine this.
If the problems can affect life, security or health, solutions must come within 24 hours.
Some issues only affect convenience and comfort.
The landlords have 3 days to repair them.
However, other issues may not be so serious.
In such cases, they have 28 days to repair them.
The new laws allow tenants to act against the landlords if repairs are not done.
Also, tenants can take actions if the repairs are not done on time.
The number of tenants is higher than ever before.
And tenant advocacy groups such Shelter like this kind of changes.
Shelter noted that more than 1.85 million renters have dealt with these problems in the last four years.
These problems come because tenants do not do what they ought to do.
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