Registered providers were asked to give assurance on addressing risks relating to dampness and mould in tenants’ homes.
On the 22nd November 2022, the Regulator of Social Housing has written to registered providers of social housing with a housing stock of 1,000 homes or more to highlight landlords’ responsibility to take action to protect tenants from hazardous damp and mould. Providers with fewer than 1,000 homes have been instructed to inform the regulator immediately if they are not taking action to remedy damp and mould issues.
Housing Associations and Local Authority Landlords will be required to submit evidence of their approach to dealing with damp and mould issues across their housing inventories to the regulator, in order to demonstrate that they have the correct systems in place to be able to identify and effectively deal with damp and mould issues in their homes, and that they are addressing the risks to their tenants’ health. They will also be required to provide the most recent assessment of the extent of damp and mould hazards, the process they have to identify and deal promptly with damp and mould cases when they are raised by tenants, and the action they are taking to remedy them.
Fiona MacGregor, Chief Executive of RSH, said: “The tragic case of Awaab Ishak has rightly focused attention on the responsibility of all registered providers to ensure that the homes they provide are well maintained and of a decent standard. The case demonstrates the serious effects that having damp and mould in homes can have on people’s health and highlighted once again the importance of providers listening to their tenants’ concerns, understanding their diverse needs, removing barriers to accessing services and responding promptly.”
The Regulator will review the information provided by landlords and, where there is evidence that providers are not meeting regulatory standards, appropriate action will be taken.
The Regulator of Social Housing promotes a viable, efficient, and well-governed social housing sector able to deliver and maintain homes of appropriate quality that meet a range of needs. It does this by undertaking robust economic regulation focusing on governance, financial viability, and value for money that maintains lender confidence and protects the taxpayer. It also sets consumer standards and may take action if these standards are breached and there is a significant risk of serious detriment to tenants or potential tenants.
Many varying root causes can lead to dampness and mould in a property, and the overall impact on tenant well-being is familiar across the rental and affordable housing sector.
Tenants report distress, daily living disruption, financial implications, and a genuine concern for health-related mould issues and the effects on any children living within the property. There is also added strain on tenant and landlord relationships, as tenants lose trust in the organisation.
With more than 5 million homes in the social housing sector across the UK, the resources and skills often needed to manage property inventories to collect, store and monitor data have never been more stretched, and as populations continue to grow the problem will only get worse.
Remote monitoring equipment is a simple and cost-effective solution to monitor the risks of damp, and mould forming. Monitoring the environmental factors that can lead to mould infestations and can also provide insights and alerts of properties at risk of fuel poverty.
Gathering information on patterns over time provides a body of evidence, and this improves operational measures, instructing repairs or customer services to act. It can also ensure any actions taken can be verified to be successful to prevent a recurrence.