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Monthly Archive January 2020

Is my property ready to be rented?

In March 2019, the Fitness for Habitation Bill was implemented to replace the confusing Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004. This new bill essentially gives tenants the right to take legal action against Private or Social landlords for a contract breach, if a property they rent doesn’t follow the standard of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). The bill has received cross-party support for its fairness, and Karen Buck, who initially proposed the policy, has said:

 

“Living in a cold, damp or unsafe home is hell. It damages people’s physical and mental wellbeing, erodes the income of the poorest households and impacts on children’s education. The most vulnerable tenants are those most at risk of being trapped in substandard accommodation, and they are often the least able to withstand the damage such conditions do, or to fight their corner unaided.  The emails that flow in from constituents—and, indeed, many others, including the hundreds of people who took part in the parliamentary digital involvement exercise before the Second Reading debate—about bad housing conditions make truly heart-rending reading. I am sure that everyone in this House will have received similar representations.”

 

Local authorities are now tasked with fixing properties that don’t live up to this standard, with the intention of claiming costs back from the property’s landlord. 

 

What is the HHSRS, and what does it include?

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is designed to look into the risk to tenants that comes from rental properties which have not been properly maintained. The system looks into the most common hazards that are likely to affect tenants, and works on solutions to keep them healthy. Below is the entire list of hazards:

 

  • Damp and Mould Growth
  • Excess Cold
  • Excess Heat
  • Asbestos (and manufactured mineral fibres)
  • Biocides
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) and fuel combustion products
  • Lead
  • Radiation
  • Uncombusted Fuel Gas
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • Crowding and Space
  • Entry by Intruders
  • Lighting
  • Noise
  • Domestic Hygiene Pests and Refuse
  • Food Safety
  • Personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage.
  • Water Supply
  • Falls associated with Baths
  • Falling on Level Surfaces
  • Falling on Stairs etc.
  • Falling Between Levels
  • Electrical Hazards
  • Fire
  • Flames and Hot Surfaces
  • Collisions, Cuts and Strains
  • Explosions
  • Position and Operability of Amenities
  • Structural Collapse and Falling Elements

 

Each hazard is investigated on a case-by-case basis, and is split into 2 categories depending on severity. Category 1 is reserved for serious hazards, and 2 is for non-urgent ones. 

 

The best advice for your landlords is to explain the 29 hazards, paying particular attention to the condition of the property and highlight any areas of worry for the landlords/tenants.  For any property you feel at risk (usually older properties), advise that a risk assessment is carried out, which will look at the likelihood of an incident arising from the condition of the property and the likely harmful outcome. If a local authority discovers category 1 hazards in a home, it has a duty to take the most appropriate action, so try to ensure your properties are up to the required standard before they are rented out.

 

If there isn’t any danger of these happening (through malpractice, accidents happen), you can feel safer knowing that your property can be rented out legally.

 

Too much effort?

We can help. We will make sure your property is legally compliant, offer long term 3-5 years of guaranteed rent under a fully managed lease contract, and add the property to our rental or serviced accommodation range. We will also take care of all the ongoing associated costs with renting property such as day to day repairs, so you can rest assured knowing your investment is being looked after. Contact us for more information.