The FFHH (Fitness For Human Habitation) Bill and Inventories

What is the Homes (Fitness For Human Habitation) Bill 2018

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill was presented to the House of Commons for its first reading on the 19th July 2017. Now, the Bill has reached the report stage, which takes place on 26th November 2018. This is where MPs can suggest amendments to the Bill or new parts they think should be added.

Signature on paper

Currently, Landlords are not required to ensure that their rented properties are absent of hazards that can be potentially harmful to the wellbeing of the occupants. There are circumstances that an offence is committed if the Landlord fails to comply with the Local authority’s enforcement notice under the Housing Act 2004. Under these conditions, tenants do not have the ability to take direct legal action towards the landlord to resolve a defective property. This has resulted in Landlords having the ability to rent out potentially dangerous properties.

The Bill itself aims to achieve the following:

  1. To increase the quality of private and social rental properties
  2. Landlords will be under obligation to ensure that the property is in good condition
  3. Tenants will have the right to take legal action against their Landlord if these conditions are not met
  4. Applying any category 1 hazard to the 1985 act section 10

We’re pleased to hear the Government is not opposing such a bill. Now, they’re driving to have it put through. If a success, we hope to see private and social tenants gaining the right to safe and secure homes for themselves and their families.

How Who What Why When Where

What this means for Landlords
With this Bill making progress through the House of Commons where it will then be passed through the House of Lords. It appears likely that this will be passed and enforced in full fruition.

The responsibility will fall heavily on the Landlords shoulders. There will be more power held by the tenants in the action they can take to ensure problems in the property are seen to and amended. Landlords will be up against more serious consequences.

Alongside the current responsibilities of ensuring a property is in housing “Fitness” which includes:

  • Repair
  • Stability
  • Freedom From Damp
  • Internal Arrangement
  • Natural Lighting
  • Ventilation
  • Water Supply
  • Drainage and sanitary conveniences
  • Facilities for preparation and cooking of food and for the disposal of wastewater

We will see “Category 1” Hazards will now be under the landlord’s responsibility. “Category 1” hazards are highlighted in the “Housing Health and Safety Rating System” (or HHSRS) created by the Housing Act 2004.

Hazard Signs

“What are Category 1 Hazards”

A category 1 hazard is a hazard that brings about a serious threat to the health or safety of the occupiers or visiting the property.

Examples include:

  • Exposed wiring or overloaded electrical sockets
  • Dangerous or broken boiler
  • Bedrooms that are very cold
  • Leaking roof
  • Mould on the walls or ceiling
  • Rats or other pest or vermin infestation
  • Broken steps at the top of the stairs
  • Lack of security due to badly-fitting external doors or problems with locks
Exposed Electrical Wires

There will be a grand total of 29 prescribed matters which will mean the Landlord has the responsibility to ensure these are in order. Furthermore, Smoke alarms, Carbon Monoxide detectors and electrical safety testing will also be included.

When a landlord fails to fix a problem which deems the dwelling unfit. They may be at risk of having their landlord licence revoked.  Tenants will now no longer require a detailed assessment carried out by a local authority. Instead, it will be taken directly to the courts if there’s no agreement made between landlord and tenant.

The Landlord will not be obliged to issues in respect to section 11 of the Housing Act 2004 such as:

  • Any works for which the tenant is liable as a result of his or her failure to use the dwelling in a tenant-like manner, or  
  • Any works to any item or fixture that the tenant is entitled to remove from the dwelling.

How regular property inspections can help

The new responsibilities of Landlords will make regular Property Inspections such as Inventories, Check Ins, Interim Property Visits and Check Outs vital aspects throughout a tenancy.

A landlord or property manager who takes full advantage of these services will have a far smoother process of keeping the property up to scratch. The inventory clerks word is not final. But, it will help raise awareness of issues in the property that have been mentioned in the new Bill.   

How? It’s simple:

  • High-quality photographic evidence
    • A full and thorough snapshot of the property during the inventory stage will provide the landlord with high-quality photographic proof of the properties condition at that point in time.

      This followed up with a check in will continue the trail of evidence of the properties condition. This is at the time the tenants move in (bear in the mind the property should be FFHH by this point!) However, if there are any issues, the report will highlight these issues and bring it to the attention of the Property Manager and/or Landlord.

      The use of regular property inspections during the tenancy period, if there are any major changes or damages to the property will be photographically documented too. An Interim property inspection also aims to make the landlord or letting agent aware of any developing problems such as mould issues, structural damage or overcrowding in the property.
  • An experienced eye
    • Our clerks are trained to look out for:
      • Damp and Mould
      • Evidence of more occupiers
      • Damage to gas items
      • Electrical appliances and powerpoints
      • Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Although this bill has not come into play, yet, we feel it is always important that Landlords and Property Managers harness the full benefits of independent inventory reporting. As mentioned above, you will end up with a full snapshot of the properties condition before, during and at the end of the tenancy period. Key action points and issues will be highlighted to you immediately enabling quick and efficient action to maintain the property you manage or rent out.

If you require further information on any of our property inspection services, do not hesitate to contact us on 0207 989 9128 or email us at info@hinchpm.com

Related Articles

Share this article:

Back to blog

Hinch Property Management uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue we assume that you consent to receive all cookies on this website.