02 March, 2020
On 13th January 2020 a new Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Conditions Cases came into effect. The Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Condition Cases replaces the existing Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Disrepair Cases.
The new protocol has been amended following the introduction of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 ("the Act") and the subsequent amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 which came into force on 20 March 2019. Throughout the new protocol, the phrase 'housing disrepair' has been replaced by 'housing conditions' and 'repairs' are now referred to as 'works'.
The changes to the Protocol are fairly limited, although it should be noted that the CPRC sub-committee is currently carrying out a further review of the protocol and will report back later this year.
Landlords must make sure that dwellings are "reasonably" suitable for human occupation. Some examples of defects which could now render a dwelling unfit could include lack of heating, excessive cold, overcrowding, lighting, fire safety or noise. The introduction of the new Act is likely to result in an increase in claims and as such housing associations and social landlords must be aware of their obligations under the new Act and be ready to respond to claims made under the amended Protocol.