Latest News

Lettings boss hit with ban after failing to protect deposits

16 January 2020

A lettings management director from Exeter has been disqualified for six years after failing to safeguard more than £68,000 worth of tenants’ deposits. Read More...

First of its kind case sees tenant awarded £18,000

15 January 2020

A tenant in Glasgow is the first case of its kind to be awarded £18,000 in damages by the First-tier Tribunal from Scotland Housing and Property Chamber. Read More...

900,000 UK residents to see an increase in Housing Benefit

15 January 2020

The UK Government has announced that the freeze on Local Housing Allowance rates has been lifted and could see Housing Benefit payments rise from April. Read More...

Electrical Safety Regulations to come into force

14 January 2020

Subject to approval by both Houses of Parliament landlords and agents will need to ensure electrical installation inspections and testing are carried out for all new tenancies in England from 1 July 2020 or from 1 April 2021 for existing tenancies. Read More...

New regulations to protect renters from carbon monoxide poisoning

10 January 2020

The Welsh Conservatives and Welsh Government housing policy team has confirmed new regulations will include additional requirements for landlords to install working carbon monoxide alarms, smoke alarms and undertake an electrical safety test at least every five years. Read More...

Letting agents to comply with Money Laundering Regulations

10 January 2020

From today, 10 January, all letting agents who manage properties which, individually, yield an income of 10,000 Euros per month (or equivalent) or more, must now comply with regulations set out in the Fifth Money Laundering Directive. Read More...

Fitness for human habitation and the lettings industry

Thursday 11 April 2019

Fitness for Human Habitation Act (FFHH) – will it change the industry, Darren Clapp, MARLA, CEO of KPR shares his thoughts and highlights trends.

Will FFHH change the industry

Darren believes there are two sides to this answer, yes, in broad terms, FFHH will make an impact on the industry, as it will cut out rogue landlords / agents and provide better root for rectification of issues, on behalf of the tenants, so at least something can be done. However, a property should have always been fit for human habitation, in the first instance, and good landlords already provide this, therefore, for them, not much will change.

Most common questions 

KPR is often asked about the 29 hazard risks, which are listed on the HHSRS (Housing, Health and Safety, Rating System) guidance, as agents can get confused between the difference of them both. Unlike HHSRS, the FFHH obligation does not require a detailed risk assessment to be carried out by a local authority, therefore, an agent/ the landlord of a qualifying dwelling is required to ensure that it is “reasonably suitable for occupation” in respect of the following nine matters:

  • repair (example: - building neglected and in poor condition)
  • stability (example: - building is unstable)
  • freedom from damp (example: - serious problem with damp)
  • internal arrangement (example: - unsafe layout)
  • natural lighting (example: - not enough natural light)
  • ventilation (example: - not enough ventilation)
  • water supply (example: - problem with the supply of hot and cold water)
  • drainage and sanitary conveniences problems (example: - with the drainage or the lavatories)
  • facilities for storage, preparation and cooking of food and for the disposal of waste water (example: - difficult to prepare and cook food, or wash up)

The other key thing that KPR highlights, when asked, is to always act in due diligence. If ever unsure, the majority of the 29 hazards are either common sense or under compliance or regulation, therefore, if you are a good property manager there shouldn’t be any occurring issues.

Three examples of how KPR can help agents stay compliant

1) Smoke detectors are still an issue in basic administration works for a letting agent. I say this with reference to The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015; an agent must provide proof that a property has installed smoke detectors on every floor of a property, that are working and have been tested. Unfortunately for some agents, due to poor administration, this is not being included, therefore, we have put out various warnings that flag up in the habitation software to alert agents that exclusion of this would make the property non-compliant.

2) An agent has the ability, at a quick glance, to identify the status overview for each property which are simply graded into three categories which are: low risk, at risk and non-compliant.

3) Once a repair or habitation issue has been identified and sent to the property management system, we have a cross checker on our KPR midterm application to ensure that the repair/ FFHH issues have been rectified and photographic proof can be taken, along with time and date stamped photos. This is a key point for FFHH, because if an agent just simply reports maintenance and issue works, how do they know a tradesman has carried them out to a satisfactory standard or if the tenants are happy, etc? Our system provides an agent with proof of these works in a documentation format, by revisiting the property, and on top of this, a tenant can sign the KPR midterm application as a double protection.  

A key area to FFHH to help letting agents

Fit for human habitation applies to the time a tenancy is created and the property must remain fit for human habitation during the term of the tenancy. An opportunity I have instantly identified, due to new legislation, is the renewalof tenancy as I personally feel agents could charge landlords more in the renewal of tenancy fees, and agents can conduct a FFHH check within a midterm property inspection. During this time, they could also conduct a Section 13 rent increase, as rents are rising, (this will help cover landlord costs) plus, a property audit, to ensure it is Section 21 compliant, along with the correct deposit legislation towards the tenant fee ban, coming shortly.

Advice to anyone that is unsure of FFHH

Firstly, download the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation Act) 2018 and read it carefully. David also recommends reverting to ARLA Propertymark factsheets and guidance as they support members and are very useful. KPR can provide demonstrations of their Habitation and Compliance Manager works with Midterm Inspection and other applications.

Further information is available on KPRs website or contact them via email.

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