Learn all about the proposed Fire & CO Legislation & Building Regulation changes in Northern Ireland.

Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 came into effect on 20th March 2019 and applies to both the social and private rented sectors to ensure that all properties are fit for human habitation throughout any tenancy.

What does the legislation mean for landlords?

To comply with the legislation, landlords must take the necessary measures to ensure that their properties are free of any hazards that would deem a property unfit for occupancy.

In the case that a landlord fails to meet their obligations to provide a safe and healthy home, their tenant has the right to take legal action for breach of contract. If the court determines that a landlord has not provided a home that is fit for human habitation, a landlord may be told to take the appropriate action to reduce or remove the hazard and/or damages or pay compensation to their tenant.

Who does the act apply to?

  • Tenancies shorter than 7 years that are granted on or after 20 March 2019
  • New secure, assured and introductory tenancies on or after 20 March 2019
  • Tenancies arising on expiry of a fixed term on or after 20 March 2019
  • All other periodic or secure tenancies from 20 March 2020
Visit the government website for more details

Is there a grace period?

The landlord is considered responsible for the repairs or maintenance as soon as they have been notified of the hazard by their tenant. The time to deal with the hazard is dependent on the circumstances of the risk, so landlords are given a reasonable amount of time to rectify the issue. However, if it is seen that a landlord has not put measures in place to remedy the hazard, a tenant is entitled to proceed with legal action. It is therefore recommended for landlords to fix any reported hazards, as soon as possible.

Compliance with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System

The legislation also requires compliance with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). The HHSRS is a risk based evaluation tool that provides guidance for landlords in relation to the safety of their housing stock, outlining the hazards and disrepair to be avoided.


  • The building has been neglected and is in a bad condition
  • The building is unstable
  • Physical strain associated with operating amenities (i.e. very heavy doors)
  • Structural collapse and falling elements


  • Serious problem with damp
  • Not enough ventilation
  • Damp and mould growth
  • Biocides (chemicals that treat mould)
  • Domestic hygiene, pests and refuse (including inadequate provision for disposal of wate water and household waste)


  • Asbestos and manufactured metal fibers
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Fuel gas (leaks in gas appliances)
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Food safety
  • Falls – bath or shower, stairs or steps
  • Electrical hazards
  • Fire and fire safety
  • Entry by intruders (not having lock on door)

Quality of Life

  • Not enough natural light
  • Problem with hot and cold water
  • Personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage
  • Difficult to cook food or wash up
  • Excess cold
  • Excess heat
  • Crowding and space
  • Lighting
  • Noise

Courses and Training

We offer a CPD certified module on the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, examining the legislation, practical applications, mitigating legal disrepair claims and what it means for the housing sector while looking to innovative solutions.

Contact your Regional Specification Manager
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