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New law allows private renters in Brent to sue their landlords if they ignore home disrepairs

PUBLISHED: 10:18 20 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:00 20 March 2019

Advice4Renters in Willesden Lane. Picture: Google

Advice4Renters in Willesden Lane. Picture: Google

Archant

The director of a housing charity in Willesden has hailed new policy allowing private renters in Brent to sue landlords who ignore defective homes.

From today it is illegal for landlords to let properties that threaten tenants’ health and safety.

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 applies to all new or renewed tenancies.

The Act, an update to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, will cover all tenancies of less than seven years in length.

Courts will have authority to order landlords to carry out the repairs and they will also be able to award damages to tenants.

For the first time in decades it imposes a duty on all social and private landlords to ensure that all properties to rent must be free from defects, including mould, blocked drains and poor ventilation, and to maintain properties in that state throughout the tenancy.

Jacky Peacock, director of Advice4Renters in Willesden Lane, said: “This is a massive change. Up to now, it has not been illegal to let properties that threaten tenants’ health and safety, but taxpayers have to spend a fortune on paying local authorities to identify hazardous properties, inspect them, and enforce Improvement Notices.”

The new law will apply immediately to all tenancies let from March 20 and all properties where a fixed term tenancy ends and is either replaced by another fixed term or just rolls on from month to month.

It will apply to all tenancies, regardless of when they started.

Ms Peacock said an important feature of the new Act is that the conditions are not restricted to ‘disrepair’.

“It will be illegal to let a property which is subject to condensation resulting in black mould, or where there are fire risks, such as unsafe cladding on tower blocks, “she said.

“We urge all tenants living in poor conditions to contact a local advice agency and we hope that GPs will also consider whether their patients’ health problems could be caused or exacerbated by living conditions and start to refer patients to advice agencies for help.”

Further information is available from Advice4Renters,

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