As of 20th March 2019, all landlords (or agents acting on their behalf) must ensure their rental properties are fit for human habitation at the beginning and throughout the tenancy. If they are not, the new Act gives tenants powers to take landlords to court for breach of contract, force them to carry out improvement works and claim compensation.
Landlords can potentially be sued for damages for the entire length of the contract.
Whilst it does not appear that there has been any official guidance issued yet there are Explanatory Notes issued on the Legislation website and the RLA have produced a guide – see links below.
What do I need to do?
If you are confident there are no problems with your homes – which should be the case if you are a responsible landlord then, quite simply, you don’t need to do anything. However you need to remain vigilant and read the information currently available.
The Act currently only applies to tenancies made after 20th March 2019, so any tenancy entered before that date will not INITIALLY be affected, even if the tenants move in after that date. However, it is expected to be rolled out to all periodic tenancies from 20th March 2020 so if you have any concerns about your properties you should address them now before it’s too late.
It is expected that more guidance will be issued in due course.
Explanatory Notes: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2018/34/resources