Taking private action against landlords
In addition the rage of formal powers used by the council to tackle poor housing conditions and rogue landlords, tenants are also able to take their own action.
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018
This legislation amends the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to require all landlords (private and social) to ensure that their properties, including any common parts of the building, are fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout.
Landlords will need to make sure that their property is free of hazards which are so serious that the dwelling is not reasonably suitable for occupation.
The Act came into force on 20 March 2019 and landlords with properties let on existing tenancies have 12 months to comply. The Act applies immediately to any new tenancies started after 20 March 2019.
More detailed information can be found in the Guide for Tenants
Environmental Protection Act 1990
Under Section 81 of this legislation tenants may start legal proceedings at the Local Magistrates Court if conditions in your property are injurious or likely to injure your health. People do take action themselves successfully, however it is advisable to have legal representation.
Tenants will firstly need to gather appropriate evidence and serve a 'Notice of Intention' on their landlord before applying for a summons.
Rent Repayment Orders
New powers under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 allow tenants to apply for Rent Repayment Orders where relevant offences have been committed by the landlord.
This requires the landlord to repay up to 12 months rent if any of the following offences have been committed:
- using or threatening violence for securing entry into premises
- illegal eviction or harassment
- failure to comply with an Improvement Notice or Prohibition Order
- breaching a Banning Order
- having control of, or managing, an unlicensed house in multiple occupation (HMO)
Applications are made to the First Tier Tribunal
Landlords do not need to have been convicted of an offence however tenants will be required to prove to the tribunal that an offence has been committed.
Please make a privately-rented housing enquiry if you require any further information or advice about taking your own action.