Landlords ignoring the new Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act do so at their own peril but normally there are simple solutions to help bring properties up to today’s standards. The new Act came into force on March 20, 2019, following which tenants have more legal protection as their homes need to be fit and safe to live in and not detrimental to an occupant’s health. High performing insulants can raise comfort levels in inefficient properties where energy bills may be very high.
The private rented sector has more than doubled in size since 2002, with more young people, families and lone parent families renting privately than before. In 2016/2017, there were 4.7 million households in the private rented sector, accounting for 20% of households in England (source: English Housing Survey 2016-17). Private rented housing has tended to be in a poorer state of repair and efficiency when compared to the social housing sector.
Now the government has decided that the time’s up – all housing needs to meet decent standards and fitness for habitation. A ‘Guide for landlords: Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018’, published March 6, 2019 by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, is available to assist landlords.
Residential landlords should be thinking longer-term in any case – decent, comfortable properties with lower running costs are more attractive for tenants to remain put. This helps to avoid gaps between tenancies.
The use of a high-performance closed cell spray-applied or injected polyurethane foam can substantially increase thermal performance. Polyurethane foam can be installed in the form of wall insulation, roof insulation, floor insulation or to fill voids and other areas to provide a seamless, thermal insulation barrier.
The polyurethane insulant is a two-component liquid system which produces a highly-efficient blanket of insulation with an exceptional thermal conductivity figure. It is particularly cost-effective and easy to apply to a wide variety of substrates. Its closed-cell nature is said to render it very resistant to moisture ingress and grades are available which achieve both Class 1 and Class 0 fire ratings when tested to BS 476 Part 7 and 6 respectively. The urethane foam can be applied in any thickness to suit the insulation requirements of the building.
For cavity walls injected polyurethane foam offers high thermal performance in comparison with other insulants. The insulant acts as a barrier to heat loss, prevents draughts, and can also help with the reduction of airborne sound. This form of cavity wall insulation can be used in flood-plain areas to provide an additional barrier against water ingress through the walls.
Spray-applied polyurethane foam is used in roofing applications to insulate or stabilise the roof. The insulant bonds tiles where nail fatigue exists, but where the roof is otherwise sound. The foam acts as a protective barrier, preventing the ingress of wind-driven rain and snow, and will provide more resistance against storm or impact damage, according to BUFCA.