Renters will be able to sue over mouldy homes
Tenants will be able to sue over cold and mouldy homes under a new law coming into force next month.
That’s the warning to landlords from green energy expert Ron Fox who said that when the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act comes into effect on Wednesday, March 20, tenants can take their landlord to court if properties in England and Wales don’t meet a certain standard.
According to Shelter, the homeless charity which has campaigned for a change in the law, there are almost one million rented homes with hazards that pose a serious risk to health and safety affecting around 2.5 million people.
“The bill will give private and social renters the right to sue to get repairs done and problems rectified,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science Innovation Park.
“Hopefully it will prevent another tragedy like the Grenfell tower fire as the new regulations will give tenants more protection and security by forcing owners to act.”
Those who have a tenancy of less than seven years will be given the right to go to court where an injunction can be granted to make the owners carry out the work.
At present landlord associations advise that an issue should be resolved within 24 hours if there is ‘significant risk of danger to the health, safety or security of a tenant’.
They are then given three working days to rectify the problem and up to 28 days for less urgent repairs.
However, there are different rules for renters in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Ron said that a property could be deemed unfit to live in if there were serious problems with repairs, stability, dampness, drainage and toilets, ventilation, water supply and facilities to prepare and to cook food as well as disposing of waste water.
He advises landlords to have a free home survey to discover what needs doing to a property to keep within the law and to find out where heat is being lost. Experts would then be able to provide green and economical solutions to get rid of the cold, condensation and mould.
One possibility would be to spray foam the loft as so much of a home’s heat is lost through the roof. This will provide a barrier against the cold and damp, dramatically reduce noise pollution and most importantly cut heating bills by up to 50 per cent.
Heat is also lost through the walls so insulating and sealing cavity walls can reduce that loss by up to 98 per cent.
“It is far better for landlords to act now before waiting for after March 20 when a court may force them to carry out the work,” said Ron.
For help with a free home survey or advice on loft and cavity wall insulation and green energy contact Ron Fox on 0845 474 6641