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Fitness for Human Habitation: Landlord Requirements

21st November 2023

Fitness for Human Habitation

As part of the Renting Homes Wales Act (2016) the Welsh Government also issued guidance on what landlords must do to ensure that buildings are in good condition and repair, this falls under Fitness For Human Habitation (FFHH).

Fitness for Human Habitation has been implemented to ensure landlords keep their property in repair at all times. Once a landlord becomes aware of any maintenance issues in a property, it is the landlord’s responsibility to carry out these repairs in a timely and reasonable manner. There are 29 matters and circumstances which determine whether a property is fit for human habitation.

The aim of the legislation is to ensure landlords maintain properties and to prevent them becoming unfit for human habitation, this welsh government hopes this approach to be a more proactive and cost-effective way of providing rented accommodation in Wales.

 

What makes a home unfit for human habitation?

Basically, this is determined by whether a dwelling is a fit place to live in, this should be clear for both the landlord and tenant/contract-holder. If you are a landlord and unsure if your property is fit for human habitation you should firstly view the guidance provided and then seek professional advice.

When it relates to appropriateness for human habitation, 29 variables and conditions are evaluated. Many of these issues may be familiar to landlords because they are similar to the hazards covered by the existing HHSRS. As a result, many houses are likely to be free of these issues already, but landlords must inspect their rentals to guarantee they are clear of any potentially dangerous issues that may harm a contract-holder (tenant). 

The Welsh Government’s complete list of FFHH-related issues can be viewed here. 

 

What are the landlord’s obligations?

Section 92 of the Act specifies the landlord’s obligations to maintain the dwelling in good repair. This includes:

  • the house’s structure and exterior (including drains, gutters, and external plumbing), and
  • the dwelling’s service facilities, such as the following:
  • for the provision of water, gas or electricity,
  • as well as for sanitation
  • for heating space or for water heating purposes.

 

A landlord is also obliged to keep the property in good condition at all times. When the landlord becomes aware of the need for repairs, they must be completed in a fair amount of time frame and to an appropriate standard. This involves a responsibility to repair any harm caused by the repairs. The landlord cannot impose any responsibility on the contract-holder for repairs, such as paying the total expenses, if the repair wasn’t the contract-holder’s fault.

If a landlord fails to meet these conditions, the dwelling must be deemed as unfit for human habitation. A landlord is subject to three requirements:

  • assuring the existence and proper function of smoke alarms
  • assuring the existence and efficient operation of carbon monoxide detectors
  • ensuring that the electrical installation is inspected and tested

 

CO and smoke detectors 

Every floor of a residence must have a working smoke alarm, according to the FFHH Regulations. Landlords have to guarantee that each of these smoke alarms is in good functioning condition, that its wiring is connected to the electric supply, and that it is interconnected with all other smoke alarms in the property.

To make certain that this need is met, getting a chance to test smoke alarms must be pursued whenever possible, such as while performing a necessary inspection, repair, or electrical test in the home. 

Furthermore, the FFHH Regulations compel landlords to install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a gas, oil or solid fuel burning device.  

For further information on this need, refer to our more extensive guidance on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

 

Electrical Installation Report Certificate

A landlord is expected to have the electrical systems of the property checked every five years unless the EICR requires an earlier testing time. If a shorter time is specified in the report, the five-year period does not apply, and the test must be repeated at the interval specified in the report. If this is not done, the residence will be declared unfit for human habitation. Every landlord in Wales must have a valid EICR in place by 30th November 2023.

Within fourteen days of the occupancy date, the tenant (contract holder) must have access to the latest EICR. When a periodic inspection and testing (PIT) is performed after the occupation date, the contract-holder must be supplied with the revised EICR within seven days of the date of the inspection. 

Furthermore, a landlord must provide the contract holder with documented confirmation of any investigatory and repairs performed on electrical installations as the outcome of a PIT. 

The contract holder must get a copy of this verification within fourteen days of the occupation date. If diagnostic and repair work is performed after the occupation date, documentation must be submitted within seven days of the landlord obtaining this acknowledgment. 

When converting a contract from an existing tenancy, landlords are permitted a grace time to install the mandatory smoke alarms. The grace period, like the electrical safety regulations, lasts until 30th November, 2023, unless the converted contract is substituted by a new contract.

 

What is a PIT?

Anything that is constantly used will deteriorate with time, and electrical installations are no exception. Because of the variations in occupancy, the electrical installations within rental accommodation are more likely to deteriorate. As a result, it should be examined and checked on a regular basis to verify that it is safe for continuous use. This is referred to as ‘periodic inspection and testing’ (PIT). 

 

Newly built properties

Landlords can demonstrate that the house is fit for human habitation in terms of electrical safety by using an Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC) where this document is available due to the property being a new build. It needs to be issued during the previous five years. 

 

Converted Contracts

A dwelling that is subject to an occupation contract that was converted from an existing tenancy agreement on 1st December 2022 shall be exempt from electrical safety standards for twelve months following the date of conversion. This implies that landlords with converted contracts have until 30 November 2023 to deliver an EICR to the tenant (contract holder).

The exclusion no longer applies to the home if the converted contract is replaced by a new contract, either when the fixed term contract expires or when a new contract is specifically agreed upon. When this occurs, an EICR must be given within 14 days of the contract’s start date, according to standard criteria.

 

Need more information on these changes? Our team is here to help you set up and be compliant by the 30th November, 2023. Contact us today.