Housing standards

Private renting guidance for tenants and landlords

This guidance page is to help tenants and landlords understand the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018. The act makes sure that rented houses and flats are ‘fit for human habitation’, which means that they are safe, healthy and free from things that could cause serious harm.

Guidance for tenants

The Act applies to tenants who live in social or privately rented houses and flats.

Your landlord must make sure that your home is ’fit for human habitation’, which means that it’s safe, healthy and free from things that could cause you or anyone else in your household serious harm. For example, if your house or flat is too cold and you can’t heat it, this can affect your health.

Most landlords make sure that the houses and flats they rent out are safe and secure, warm and dry. But some landlords do not, and this means that some tenants live in dangerous or unhealthy conditions. The Act is designed to help tenants and make sure irresponsible landlords improve their properties or leave the business.

If rented houses and flats are not ‘fit for human habitation’, tenants can take their landlords to court. The court can make the landlord carry out repairs or put right health and safety problems. The court can also make the landlord pay compensation to the tenant.

View the tenant guide

The government has made a helpful guide for residents who:

  • rent privately
  • rent from a housing association

Guidance for tenants

Guidance for landlords

The Act applies to the social and private rented sectors and makes it clear that landlords must ensure that their property, including any common parts of the building, is fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout.

Where a landlord fails to do so, the tenant has the right to take action in the courts for breach of contract on the grounds that the property is unfit for human habitation.

View the landlord guide

The government has produced a helpful guide for landlords to guidance and advice to landlords of domestic rented properties about the minimum standards required to let domestic property. The guide includes criteria for what ‘Fitness for Human Habitation’ means.

Guidance for landlords

How to rent guide

The government has made a helpful guide for tenants and landlords in the private rented sector to help them understand their rights and responsibilities. It provides a checklist and more detailed information on each stage of the process, including:

  • what to look out for before renting
  • living in a rented home
  • what happens at the end of a tenancy
  • what to do if things go wrong

How to rent guide