Research by plumbing experts found that almost half of tenants blame the condition of their property for some of their health issues and injuries.

“Respiratory problems arising from mould and damp, allergies linked to environmental irritants and illness related to poor heating” are just some of the most common things renters were complaining about, according to property maintenance company, Aspect.

Secondary health problems were also cited as an issue, particularly anxiety and stress, which “one-in-five (19.4%) renters said the condition of their home had caused them”.

There is a whole myriad of other illnesses and ailments that renters were claiming detrimentally affect their health.

Although things like a cut finger from a poorly fitted work surface or a trip due to some dodgy laminate flooring may seem pretty minor, the more major problems, like faulty appliances giving out carbon monoxide gas, are much more serious.

“There are approximately fifty carbon monoxide related deaths per year in the UK”, a particularly worrying statement released by the Department of Health and Social Care.

It is largely down to statistics such as this one, that the government realised changes had to be made in government to protect the health and welfare of tenants up and down the country.

Rented Properties Now Need to be Deemed ‘Fit for Habitation’ by Landlords

This is the key change which was brought in as a result of a new act which came into force in March last year.

Once upon a time, landlords only had to make sure the rental properties they owned were sufficiently maintained. I.e. Ensuring windows opened and closed properly, and sockets switched on and off, amongst other things.

Now, landlords have to actively check that the environment of a rented house doesn’t cause health problems for tenants. Specifically, they now have to take measures to reduce all risks to their health, safety and general wellbeing.

This is good news and is particularly welcomed by Nickl Beazley, Aspect’s Operations Director, who is pleased to hear that landlords will now be left legally liable if they fail to protect their tenants.

“I think some landlords try to avoid their obligations so we hope this new legislation will clarify their obligation to ensure homes are fit for habitation and lead to a general improvement for living conditions across the rental sector.”

The new law covers most types of tenancy agreement which were signed on the same day the act came into force, or even after this date. As a guide, it follows these types of tenancies, as outlined in the act:

  • All tenancies of up to seven years that started on or after the date on which the Act comes into force
  • All fixed-term tenancies that become periodical tenancies (rolling contract) after March 20th 2019
  • All statutory periodic tenancies, secure tenancies, assured tenancies and protected tenancies in place on March 20th 2019 and up to 12 months after

Tenants should check their agreement to make sure they are covered by the new rules and seek help if they require further clarification.