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Proposal for landlords to join a Redress Scheme

The Government has announced proposals for all UK landlords to join a redress scheme. Landlords who fail to join this scheme will face fines of up to £5,000.

James Brokenshire, the current Housing Minister, wishes to create a new housing complaints resolution service, where disputes between landlords and tenants can be resolved. This would be on the understanding that all other avenues have been exhausted.

This proposal is running parallel with the recent Homes(Fitness for Human Habitation)Act 2018, which has now given tenants new powers to sue landlords should their accommodation not meet basic health and hygiene standards.

The idea of the scheme is for tenants and landlords to resolve a dispute that has arisen as a result of a defect, or issue in their property, which would render it unsafe, uninhabitable, or unhygienic.

At this stage, the redress scheme legislation is still a proposal, but it is expected to become law in the future.

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Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018

Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 allows Tenants to sue landlords over the condition of their property

What is the new law?

On 20 March 2019, a new law came into force to make sure that rented houses and flats are ‘fit for human habitation’, which means that they are safe, healthy and free from things that could cause serious harm.

Most landlords ensure that their rented properties are safe and secure, warm and dry, but some landlords do not, and as a result, some tenants are forced to live in dangerous or unhealthy conditions.

This new law was designed to fully protect tenants and will enable them to start speaking up; the potential downside is it could force many landlords to sell, or even deter potential property investors from buying.

What does this new law mean for a landlord?

If rented houses and flats are not ‘fit for human habitation’, tenants can take their landlords to court. The court can force the landlord to carry out repairs or rectify health and safety issues. The court can also force the landlord to pay compensation to the tenant.

As a landlord, it is crucial that you keep your properties in top condition and respond quickly to any issues reported by your tenants

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Fire Safety

When it comes to a tenant’s safety, you cannot afford to cut corners and for two obvious reasons. Firstly, your negligence could potentially result in a serious accident, or worst case scenario, a fatality. Secondly, you could end up in prison with a hefty fine. One would assume this to be a motivation for landlords to ensure their properties are safe to inhabit(live in), but it is estimated that a third of rented homes in the UK (in some shape or form) are unsafe to live in. And that’s just the ones we know about! The reality is probably more like half!

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