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"Matters and Circumstances" to Determine Fit for Human Habitation

Fitness for Human Habitation Renting Homes 2022 Regulations

Landlords have an obligation under a periodic standard contract, or a fixed term standard contract (made for a term of less than seven years) to ensure the dwelling is fit for human habitation throughout the occupation contract. If the dwelling forms part of a building, the landlord’s obligation extends to the structure and exterior of the building and the common parts.

The Renting Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022 (as amended) set out the ‘Matters and Circumstances’ which must be considered to determine whether a dwelling is fit for human habitation.

These broadly reflect the 29 ‘matters and circumstances’ set out in the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (Wales) Regulations 2006 (‘HHSRS’), as prescribed under the Housing Act 2004.

The Regulations also include further specific requirements which landlords must meet to ensure a dwelling is considered fit. Landlord’s must ensure:

• a smoke alarm is in proper working order and present on each floor of the dwelling.  It must be connected to the electrical supply and inter-linked with all other smoke alarms connected to the electricity supply;

• a working carbon monoxide alarm is present in any room containing a gas appliance, an oil-fired combustion appliance or a solid fuel burning combustion appliance; and

• electrical service installations are subject to electrical safety inspection, by a qualified person at intervals of 5 years (or sooner where a previous electrical inspection has made such a recommendation), and a copy of the condition report is provided to the contract-holder.

These specific requirements apply from the occupation date of a new contract entered into on or after 01 December 2022. Existing contracts have a twelve month grace period to undertake electrical safety testing and the installation of smoke alarms. This twelve month grace period does not apply to carbon monoxide alarms which must be in place by the 01 December 2022.

Where a landlord lets accommodation that is determined to be unfit, the contract-holder will be able to seek an order from the court requiring the landlord to remedy any issue(s) which are making the accommodation unfit.

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