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Government to support amendments to Section 8 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985

The Secretary of State for Housing has confirmed that the Government will support new legislation that will ensure that tenants have the right to take legal action if their rented homes are not fit for human habitation both at the start of their tenancy and throughout its duration.

The changes to the law arise on foot of the publication of the draft Private Member’s Bill on Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability of Housing Standards) (‘the Bill’) which will amend Section 8 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (‘the 1985 Act’).

Section 8 (1) of the 1985 Act currently provides that the letting of a house for human habitation contains an implied covenant that (a) the house is fit for human habitation and (b) the landlord gives an undertaking that it will remain fit for human habitation throughout the duration of the tenancy.

The Bill as currently drafted substitutes section 8 (1) as reading that there is an implied covenant that a dwelling is “(a) fit for human habitation at the time the lease is granted or otherwise created or, if later, at the beginning of the term of the lease, and (b) will remain fit for human habitation during the term of the lease.

The Government has said that the practical impact of the Bill will be that all landlords in the social and private sector must ensure that their property is fit for human habitation and where a landlord fails to comply with this implied covenant, a tenant will have the right to take legal action for breach of contract.

The Bill is currently making its way through Parliament and its progress can be followed here.

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