The Homes Bill will come into force on March 20th. For the first time, the new law gives tenants the power to take unlawful landlords to court if their homes are in a dangerous and unacceptable condition.
The new law will hopefully catch out rogue landlords who are renting out homes not in a fit state to live in. It applies to a huge number of residents - not only to private rental sector tenants, but also to those who are living in social housing.This comes after recent news that some residents in social housing were plagued with damp, mould and mice living in the holes of crumbling walls.
Currently, if a landlord doesn’t respond to a request for repairs for premises which are unsafe, it usually falls upon local councils to enforce action as the overwhelming majority of tenants are not aware that they can bring their own criminal private prosecution against the landlord under environmental protection law. Under the new bill, a tenant can take their landlord to court and seek compensation for breaching the Homes Bill under civil law.
All landlords must ensure their property is fit for human habitation throughout the tenancy, free from hazards such as mould, leaks, vermin, lack of security, exposed electrics, broken steps, or cold bedrooms. Failure to deal with one or more of these hazards gives tenants cause to take civil action against their landlords.
If legal action is pursued, then a landlord must take action to remove or reduce the hazard and could face paying damages to compensate the tenant for any harm caused.
To support your case as best you can, tenants should keep receipts of any additional costs as a result of a hazard, and keep a record of any complaints you make to your landlord about housing disrepair. Both of these records can be used as evidence when building a case, as well as any doctor’s notes showing how your health has been affected by the housing disrepair issues.
If your landlord does not take adequate action when contacted about housing disrepair issues, then you should not hesitate in seeking legal advice. Our experienced lawyers are committed to ensuring your housing disrepair issues are resolved, and you are fully compensated for any harm caused by your landlord.
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