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Coroner calls for landlord register following tenant death

landlord register coroner Joanne Kearsley

A coroner has called on the government to set up a private landlord register in England after the mould-related death of a tenant.

Luke Brooks, 27, died in 2022 from a respiratory illness after living in a mouldy privately rented home in Oldham, but an inquest found the state of the home did not contribute to his death.

In a report sent in 2023 but only recently published, coroner Joanne Kearsley wrote to the government to say the lack of a private landlord register could risk future deaths, reports the BBC. The register was going to be included in the aborted Renters (Reform) Bill.

Brooks’ death was found to be caused by aspergillus pneumonia, a type of mould most commonly associated with rotting vegetation, such as a compost heap. But the inquest heard it was different to the black mould found at his home on Huxley Street, where he had lived with his family since 2014.


They claimed the mould in the home was to blame for his death, but the coroner said the evidence was “not sufficient” to determine where his illness came from. She told the family her findings, “do not take away from the fact that there were things that needed to be done to your house and it was quite right to raise them”.

In her letter sent to the government in August 2023 but only now revealed, the coroner said several issues had emerged from the evidence.

The lack of a private landlord register in England meant local authorities could be hampered by not having access to up-to-date information including addresses and contact details when concerns with private rental homes were raised.

The coroner added that landlords’ details were particularly important when problems with a property are “potentially life threatening” and she highlighted issues such as asbestos or excessive damp as an example.

Labour has promised to include a national landlord register within its version of the Tories' Renters (Reform) Bill.


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