Tenants get right to sue landlords for damp or mouldy homes thanks to new law

If your home is a state you will very soon be able to take your landlord to court and not just get the problem fixed, but get compensation too

From 20 March, 2019, you’ll be able to sue your landlord if they don’t fix damp and mould in your home.

Both private and social renters are covered – provided they don’t have tenancies longer than seven years – and includes the common areas of buildings as well as your rooms.

As well as getting the work done, you can also get compensation from the landlord under the new rules.

And far more than just damp is covered by the new Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act that’s about to come into force.

Shelter chief executive Polly Neate said: “It’s shocking that renters all over the country are forced to live in sub-standard and unsafe homes so this is an important first step towards giving them the rights they need.”

Shelter said at the moment private renters need to rely on local authorities to look into poor conditions, while social tenants don’t have an effective way to hold their council to account.

Under the new rules, your landlord is in breach of the new law if there are serious defects in any of the following areas:

Repair
Stability
Freedom from damp
Internal arrangement
Natural lighting
Ventilation
Water supply
Drainage and sanitary conveniences; and
Facilities for preparation and cooking of food and for the disposal of waste water.
Shelter calculates there are almost a million rented homes with hazards that pose a serious risk to health and safety at the moment – affecting about 2.5 million people.

Sadly, the new law doesn’t make landlords responsible if the damage or disrepair is caused by the tenants’ behaviour.

Heather Wheeler, minister for housing and homelessness, added: “This new law is a further step to ensure that tenants have the decent homes they deserve.”