New rules for rented properties should improve ventilation standards

Ventilation specialist Vent-Axia has welcomed the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, which is scheduled to come into force tomorrow (20th March). The Act makes it a legal requirement that rental properties, both social housing and private, are fit for human habitation at the beginning and throughout a tenancy, including the need for effective ventilation and freedom from damp. This, says the company, is good news for tenants who should be able to demand good indoor air quality (IAQ) within their homes, protecting their health from the ill effects of condensation and mould.

An amendment to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act now addresses problems caused by defective design – such as lack of ventilation – rather than just disrepair. The new rules also cover communal areas in shared buildings. If a home does not meet the standard and the property owner does not carry out the necessary repairs or maintenance, tenants will have the right to take them to court where a judge can issue an injunction forcing the work to be carried out.

“We are pleased to see the importance of good ventilation being recognised in this Act. If ventilation is inadequate or absent it can have far reaching consequences for both the occupants and the building itself” explained Tom Wodcke, Product Manager, at Vent-Axia. “Without effective ventilation homes are susceptible to condensation and mould which creates poor indoor air quality, leads to ill health and causes damage to the building itself. We welcome the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act and the opportunity for all households to benefit from effective ventilation.”

According to housing charity Shelter, 2.5 million people, in around 1 million homes, are living in accommodation not fit for human habitation. The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 will make landlords more accountable for conditions in their homes. Properties will be assessed on the following criteria, and they will be deemed unfit for habitation if there are serious defects in one or more of the following:

  • Repair
  • Stability
  • Freedom from damp
  • Internal arrangement
  • Natural lighting
  • Ventilation
  • Water Supply
  • Drainage and sanitary conveniences
  • Facilities for storing/preparing/cooking of food and disposal of waste water
  • Hazards under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.

As ventilation experts, Vent-Axia offers a number of tools to help landlords meet the requirements of the Act. This includes free no-obligation site surveys where ventilation consultants can provide landlords with advice to determine the ventilation required for a home, plus supply a report outlining recommendations. The company also provides a supply and fit service, so whether landlords need planned maintenance of housing stock or require a rapid response to a disrepair case, qualified ventilation experts can carry out the installation.

Landlords looking to improve the ventilation in their properties can find out more at Vent-Axia’s microsite www.vent-axia.com/social-housing. Providing the social housing sector with guidance on how to avoid or combat condensation and mould by IAQ, the website offers visitors a route to their individual ventilation solution. It also has a section for private landlords which includes information on curing/preventing condensation and mould and creating healthy homes for residents.

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