What's all the fuss about? Fitness For Human Habitation, Damp and Mould.
Fitness for human habitation and damp & mould are issues that are spoken about a lot recently, especially in the news. But what exactly is Fitness for Human Habitation, and what causes damp and mould issues in the first place?
What is the Fitness for Human Habitation act?
The Fitness for Human Habitation Act was introduced in 2018 as an amendment to the Landlord and Tenant Act, 1985.
This act was designed to ensure that all rented accommodation is fit for human habitation, decided by 10 key factors:
The building has not been neglected and is not in a state of disrepair.
The building has not got a serious problem with damp.
The building does not have an unsafe internal arrangement.
The building has enough natural lighting.
The building has enough ventilation.
There is not a problem with the water supply.
There is not a problem with drainage and sanitary conditions.
The building is not unstable.
The building does not have insufficient facilities for preparation and cooking of food and for the disposal of waste water.
The building does not have any of the 29 hazards set out in the Housing Health and Safety (England) Regulations, 2005.
Causes of Damp and Mould
Identifying the causes of damp and mould is difficult, but humidity is a key factor. Humidity can be influenced by three factors:
Failing building infrastructure.
Highly efficient building insulation upgrades without the corresponding ventilation upgrades.
Mould likes warm and humid conditions to grow and spread.
Mould thrives in the following conditions:
Humidity levels above 60%.
Temperatures between 15 and 25 degrees.
Mould spores will begin to grow rapidly 24 to 48 hours after these conditions occur. As this temperature is the average comfort setting for houses in the UK, managing the humidity is the only option when tackling damp and mould issues.
MultiDOT and BCM will give you the ability to monitor damp and humidity in real time, spot trends, and action solutions before a claim ever gets off the ground. Additionally, Customer Connect, Vericon’s bi-directional communication platform, gives a full audit trail where our clients can highlight high humidity levels and making suggestions to minimise the issue.
Exceptions to the Fitness For human Habitation Act
There are some exceptions to the Fitness for Human Habitation Act. The landlord will not be required to remedy fitness when:
The problem is caused by tenant behaviour.
The problem is caused by events like fires, storms and floods which are beyond the landlord’s control (sometimes called ‘acts of God’).
The problem is caused by the tenants’ own possessions.
The landlord hasn’t been able to get consent, for example: planning permission, permission from freeholders etc. There must be evidence of reasonable efforts to gain permission.
The tenant is not an individual for example: local authorities, national parks, housing associations, educational institutions.
Defending a claim
Due to the full audit trail collected by MultiDOT, BCM, and Customer Connect, if a claim does occur, evidence can be provided to show that steps have been taken by the housing provider to solve the issue. This will also show if the problem has been caused by tenant behaviour, relieving the housing provider of the requirement to remedy the issue.
Our team is ready to help you mitigate the risk of claims and ensure you are able to defend if a claim does occur. Get in touch!