What are the Renting Homes (Homes Fit for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022?
View more information about the Renting Homes (Homes Fit for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022.
Written by: FireAngel Admin
Published on: 14 August 2022
The Renting Homes (Homes Fit for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022 aim to ensure that private and social rented properties in Wales are fit for human habitation.
Landlord’s obligation to ensure a dwelling is fit for human habitation (FFHH)
Section 91 of the Act places an obligation on a landlord to ensure that, at the start of and during the length of the occupation contract, the dwelling is FFHH.
These obligations are set out in The Renting Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022 (“the FFHH Regulations”) which set out the 29 matters and circumstances to which regard must be had when determining whether a property is FFHH. This includes reference to damp and mould, carbon monoxide alarms and smoke alarms.
In addition, there are specific requirements placed upon a landlord to help ensure certain matters and circumstances do not arise.
The FFHH Regulations place specific requirements on landlords to help prevent certain matters and circumstances arising. Where a landlord fails to comply with these requirements, the dwelling is to be treated as if it were unfit for human habitation.
There are three requirements imposed on a landlord:
ensuring the presence of smoke alarms in proper working order
ensuring the presence of carbon monoxide detectors in proper working order
ensuring the inspection and testing of the electrical installation
The presence of smoke alarms is intended to reduce the risk of fire and associated smoke and any consequent injury or loss of life. Without a smoke alarm fitted an occupier is at least four times more likely to die.
The FFHH Regulations require a smoke alarm, in proper working order, to be present on every storey of a dwelling. Landlords must ensure each of these smoke alarms is in proper working order, connected to the electrical supply and inter-linked with all other smoke alarms connected to the electrical supply.
To ensure that this requirement is met, the opportunity to test smoke alarms should be sought e.g. whilst carrying out a necessary repair or electrical testing in the dwelling.
Depending on the size of the dwelling landlords may consider it appropriate to ensure the presence of more than one smoke alarm on each storey. Landlords may also consider it appropriate to fit an additional heat alarm in the kitchen area.
Smoke alarms should be sited where they can be heard by the occupier when asleep, usually a hall and landing area. Once the minimum requirements of the regulations have been met a landlord may install additional smoke alarms which are battery powered.
The FFHH regulations do not require these additional battery powered alarms to be inter-linked.
Carbon monoxide (CO) alarms
Combustion appliances such as boilers, gas and open fires, heaters and stoves fuelled by solid fuel, oil or gas all have the potential to cause CO poisoning if they are poorly installed, poorly maintained or incorrectly used. Particularly where there is inadequate (or lack of) proper ventilation, flues and chimneys.
The FFHH Regulations require a landlord to ensure that a carbon monoxide alarm is present in any room which has a gas, oil or solid fuel burning appliance installed.
The placement of carbon monoxide alarms should be considered carefully. Smoke alarms, because heat and smoke rise, are normally placed on the ceiling.
This is not necessarily the best place to install carbon monoxide detectors. The concentration of carbon monoxide could reach dangerous levels before reaching ceiling height.
As a general guide, carbon monoxide alarms are usually installed lower than smoke alarms. The guidance accompanying carbon monoxide alarms should always be followed carefully, including noting the expiry date of the alarm. Carbon monoxide sensors are usually more fragile than those within smoke alarms and usually need to be replaced more regularly.
FFHH: Relevant matters and circumstances
1) Damp and mould growth
house dust mites
mould or fungal growth
Both are caused by dampness and/or high humidity.
Causes of dust mite and mould and fungal growth
Both are related directly to dampness which is caused by:
reduced ventilation levels
increased humidity, especially beyond 70 per cent
warmer indoor temperatures in winter because of dwelling design in renovated houses.
Potential landlord actions:
damp proof courses, membranes and detailing around doors and window openings
external fabric kept in good repair to avoid rain penetration
frost protection for pipes and tanks
properly installed baths, sinks etc., with
properly installed drainage
properly installed and maintained rainwater goods
properly ventilated roof and under floor spaces to ensure timber remains air dry
adequate extraction of moisture laden air during peak times, such as cooking, bathing and laundry
continuous low-level background ventilation where necessary
sufficient means of ventilation to cope with moisture from normal domestic activities without the need to open windows that could lead to heat loss, noise and security risks
appropriate ventilation for dwellings of high occupant density
If most of the conditions above are met then raising indoor temperatures, taking into account energy efficiency and cost of heating, can significantly reduce dust mite problems. So an efficient heating system appropriate for the fabric (thermal properties) of the building is important.
This covers the threats to health when temperatures fall below the minimum satisfactory levels for relatively long periods.
changes in outdoor temperature among other factors
dwellings with low energy efficiency ratings, poorly insulated or poorly protected against the elements (poorly fitted windows or doors)
generally the most susceptible are properties built before 1850, with the likelihood lowering by varying degrees over time, with more energy efficient dwellings built after 1980
absence of central heating/poor inefficient heating systems
excessive damp which reduces thermal insulation
Potential landlord actions:
appropriate levels of thermal insulation to minimise heat loss. Level depends on location/exposure/relationship to other dwellings/buildings orientation
appropriate heating system safely and properly installed and maintained and controllable by occupant
appropriate/properly installed/maintained occupant controllable low-level background ventilation without too much heat loss/draughts
means for rapid ventilation at times of high moisture production in kitchens/bathrooms through fans
properly sited/sized permanent openings (e.g. air bricks/open-able windows)
*Please note: The above summary is based on FireAngel’s interpretation of The Renting Homes (Homes Fit for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022, always refer to the standard for specific guidance.