The Housing Act 2004 replaces the Housing Act 1985. Under Part 1 of the 2004 Act, there is a new method of determining if a property is suitable for the health and safety of occupants. There is a change in the definition of a house in multiple occupation and there are licensing requirements for certain HMOs as required in Part 2 of the 2004 Act.
The Housing Act 2004 will also introduce a new mandatory Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme which starts on 6 April 2007. This means landlords will need to ensure that the deposits received from all tenants on assured shorthold tenancies are placed into a government approved scheme to ensure the deposit is fairly protected, disputes are easier to resolve and tenants are encouraged to look after the property. There are three schemes you can choose from, the custodial scheme which is free to use and two insurance based schemes that insure the deposit but involves a fee. Further information can be obtained from Housing Advice or visit the website www.direct.gov.uk/tenancydeposit
The Building Act 1984 - deals with drainage to buildings (including WCs) and deals with dangerous buildings or parts of buildings. The legislation also requires fire precautions in some types of self contained flats.
The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 - deals with reconnection or continuance of supplies of water, gas or electricity, where bills go unpaid by an owner or former owner and where the supply companies disconnect them. The cost of paying these bills and having the service reconnected can be recovered by the Council.
The Public Health Act 1936 and 1961 – contains powers to deal with unsatisfactory sanitary closets and blocked drains. x The Environmental Protection Act 1990 – deals with nuisances such as noise and dangerous properties. x The Berkshire Act 1986 - allows action to be taken in cases involving dangerous electrical installations. x The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998* - places a duty on landlords to maintain all Gas Appliances and have them checked at least every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer (previously CORGI registered).
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1998* – applies to the supply of upholstered furnishings within rented accommodation.
The Consumer Protection Act 1987 and the General Product Safety Production Regulations 1994* - apply to the provision of goods within furnished private rented accommodation. This includes electrical equipment, gas appliances, furniture and other goods, which should be in good order.