Generation Rent is calling on the government to extend Awaab’s Law to the PRS after its survey found 1,106 private rented homes in England with dangerous levels of damp and mould.
A Freedom of Information request by the campaign group found that the 65 councils which reported a breakdown of complaints had received 60,849 about standards in private rented housing in 2021-22, including 8,048 complaints about damp and mould (13%).
The 69 councils which reported a breakdown of hazards found 7,695 Category 1 hazards, including 1,106 cases of damp and mould (14%). However, this is a very small proportion of the 4.6 million homes in the PRS.
As Parliament debates Awaab’s Law, which would set strict timescales for social landlords to respond to complaints about damp and mould – part of the Social Housing (Regulation) Bill - Generation Rent believes its research also provides new evidence of the need for an end to Section 21 evictions, which can discourage tenants from complaining.
When councils found unsafe conditions in private rented homes, they took action to protect the tenant from retaliatory eviction in only 24% of cases.
It reports that while 81 councils identified a total of 9,033 Category 1 hazards, they issued just 2,179 improvement notices, meaning that private tenants had a 24% chance of getting formal protection if their home was found to be unsafe.
Generation Rent Director Alicia Kennedy says: “Landlords, whether they are huge housing associations or an individual letting out their former home, have one job: to provide their tenants with a safe home.
"Too many try to dodge their responsibilities by blaming tenants or serving a no-fault eviction notice.”
In January, the government announced plans to tackle mould within the private and social housing sectors through updated guidance and initiatives and confirmed that the PRS’s new housing ombudsman would lead the battle against mould.