Housing secretary Michael Gove has announced today that the government has tabled amendments to the Social Housing (Regulation) Bill to introduce ‘Awaab’s Law’, which will require landlords to fix reported health hazards within specified timeframes.
The Government are to announce Awaabs Law to crack down on Damp & Mould issues often found in rented accommodation. The decision is a result of the tragic death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak. Senior coroner Joanne Kearsley discovered the toddler died as a direct result of prolonged exposure to damp and mould in the family home owned by Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH).
During the inquest, the coroner stated that this should be a “defining moment” for the sector as a whole.
Mr Gove announced the government’s commitment to ‘Awaab’s Law’ on a visit to Rochdale, where he today met with Awaab’s family and Yvonne Arrowsmith, RBH’s new chief executive.
She replaced RBH’s former boss Gareth Swarbrick, who was sacked in November, after resisting calls to step down after a coroner’s report. A consultation will be launched later this year to set the timeframes within which landlords will have to act to investigate hazards and make repairs. The new damp and mould rules will form part of the tenancy agreement, so tenants will then be able to hold landlords to account by law if they fail to provide a safe and healthy environment.
In recent years, properties in Birmingham have been suffering from damp and mould-related problems, resulting in an increase in damp and mould surveys in the West Midlands area.
“Today we have announced tough new laws to force social landlords to fix their homes within strict new time limits, says Mr Gove.
“Those landlords who continue to drag their feet over dangerous damp and mould will face the full force of the law.”
The changes come as the government makes amendments to the Social Housing (Regulation) Bill that aim to drive up standards in the sector and hold landlords to account for the service they provide to their tenants.
Mr Gove added: “Awaab’s Law will help to ensure that homes across the country are safe, decent and warm.”
The government committed itself to a rapid review of existing guidance on the health impacts of damp and mould in January, followed by new guidance tailored to the housing sector, to be published by this summer.
Further powers will enable the Housing Ombudsman to instruct landlords to measure their service against guidance on issues such as damp and mould, to help drive improvements following complaints from tenants.
Government to Announce Awaabs Law to crackdown on Damp & Mould
Other amendments tabled today will include improvements to insolvency arrangements, data protection and the requirement for written reports after inspections.
Landlords and rental agencies will have an obligation to maintain records to ensure that suitable management is put in place to prevent issues such as damp and mould turning into an issue that posses a risk to health and safety.
Rental agencies and landlords in Birmingham have already begun seeking professional support from companies such as Alpine Surveys to carry out periodic surveys and reporting of premises to ensure that reported damp and mould issues are dealt with efficiently and professionally to avoid causing health issues.
For more information on this story please see. https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/news/government-to-deliver-awaabs-law-as-part-of-damp-and-mould-crackdown-80249
These problems will not go away and it is the responsibility