In today’s current housing climate there are more people renting property than ever before. The average house price in England is £244,567 as of March 2019, however the average wage in England is £29,588 as of May 2019. Banks generally require buyers to put down 5% of the value of the property as a deposit and they will grant the remaining 95% in the form of a mortgage. With some simple calculations, this requires the average buyer to place a deposit of £12,228. However, this 5% is only the minimum needed, and there are various reasons to deposit more than this 5% such as cheaper monthly repayments, lower interest rates and ultimately a better chance of being accepted. Some may therefore want to place a deposit of 10-15% which would cost between £24,456 and £36,685 – such deposits are unfortunately unattainable for many meaning they cannot get a foot onto the first rung of the property latter.

The logical alternative to buying your own property is renting. You may now be saying to yourself “but isn’t renting more expensive?” The answer is a surprising “no”. It has been estimated that in 60% of UK cities it is actually cheaper to rent, and indeed a change in attitude means many people are now content with renting and not being tied down to one location by a mortgage.

With this influx of tenants rather than buyers into the housing market, protection must be afforded to tenants against landlords now more than ever. If you have rented a house before I am sure you can relate to the back and forth calls and emails to your landlord whenever an issue arises in your home. Various pieces of legislation have been adopted throughout the years, with some very recent legislation, which aims to create a level playing field between tenants and landlords.

The Landlord and Tenants Act 1985 is the main piece of legislation governing the relationship between landlords and tenants and recently the Homes (Fitness for Habitation) Act 2018 has made amendments to this Act in the area of fitness for human habitation. The Tenant Fees Act 2019 has also been introduced which applies to student tenancies. The Act prohibits landlords from requesting payments from tenants except for those expressly permitted under the Act.

The Homes (Fitness for Habitation) Act 2018 is of significant importance since it introduces an implied covenant by the landlord that the dwelling is fit for human habitation at the time of the grant of the lease (or when the lease term begins) and will remain fit during the term. Tenants can bring a court action for a breach of the covenant, which may result in the landlord being ordered to pay compensation or carry out the works necessary to improve the property. 

Section 10 of the Landlord and Tenants Act 1985 holds that in determining whether a house or dwelling is unfit for human habitation, regard shall be had to its condition in respect of the following matters:

  • repair,
  • stability,
  • freedom from damp,
  • internal arrangement,
  • natural lighting,
  • ventilation,
  • water supply,
  • drainage and sanitary conveniences,
  • facilities for preparation and cooking of food and for the disposal of waste water;
  • in relation to a dwelling in England, any prescribed hazard;

However, the Act states that the house or dwelling shall be regarded as unfit for human habitation if, and only if, it is so far defective in one or more of those matters that it is not reasonably suitable for occupation in that condition.

If you are a landlord looking to lease or rent your property to prospective tenants and require some assistance, or if you are a tenant with a dispute with your landlord, here at GoodyBurrett we have a team of specialists who can assist you with your situation.

Are you a tenant or landlord? For more information

Contact our Litigation Department on 01206 577676 or email [email protected]