We’ve said it before and will repeat it; Sandwell has some excellent landlords who do their best for tenants, meet all of their obligations and duties and give people good quality homes.
But . . . We do have a small minority of unscrupulous landlords who ignore standards on safety and decency and risk the wellbeing and safety of their tenants. Up to now, taking action where landlords have failed to meet essential standards on safety and quality has been (within certain criteria) the responsibility of the local authority. That’s still the case, but recent legislation about ensuring homes are ‘fit for human habitation,’ means tenants can now sue landlords who fail in some of their obligations.
You can get the full details about the legislation here, on the main government website gov.uk.
One important point and I’ll quote gov.uk directly is that “there are no new obligations for landlords under this Act; the legislation requires landlords to ensure that they are meeting their existing responsibilities with regards to property standards and safety.”
The point is not to create extra requirements on landlords but to “strengthen tenants’ means of redress against the minority of landlords who do not fulfil their legal obligations to keep their properties safe.”
Or in simple terms – if a landlord doesn’t do what they should, the tenant can sue them.
Now normally, the sort of landlord who reads this blog would, (I hope) be very unlikely to need to change their practices in response to this law. Good landlords don’t have properties that aren’t fit for human habitation, but its still worth knowing about the law. We don’t yet know whether lawyers operating on a ‘no win – no fee’ basis are likely to start looking for clients within this area of work and there are always difficult tenants who might try and create legal problems for their landlord. (Just to be clear – I am emphatically not saying that most tenants would want to act in an unreasonable manner – but we all know that problem tenants do exist). So please do have a look at the link above if you can.