Fitness to live in implied term for furnished accommodation
A term that furnished premises must be fit to be lived in on the day of letting is implied into tenancy agreements.
Where premises are let furnished, they must be 'fit to be lived in' on the day the letting begins. This is also true where the unfitness is not obvious at the time of the letting, but comes to light during the tenancy.
If the property is unfit, the landlord is in breach of the tenancy agreement.
The courts have decided that premises are unfit for human habitation at common law if they:
are infested with bugs
have defective drainage or sewerage systems
have a lack of safety, or
have an insufficient water supply
In addition, the courts may consider the statutory definition of unfitness in considering whether premises are unfit at common law.
The statutory test of fitness for human habitation, contained in section 604 of the Housing Act 1985, remained in place until 6 April 2006. After that date, the Housing Health and Safety Rating System applies, under the Housing Act 2004. Section 604 (of the 1985 Act) is potentially relevant for claims of unfitness prior to April 2006, while the new system of categorised hazards may have greater relevance in respect of subsequent claims.
Premises let on licences
Where premises have been let on licences, the courts have been more willing to impose a requirement that the property must be fit for human habitation whether they are furnished or unfurnished.
Last updated: 23 March 2021