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LATEST: Ministers say new PRS Ombudsman must tackle mould complaints


The Government has announced plans to tackle mould within the private and social housing sectors through updated guidance and iniatives.

Announced late on Friday before a midnight deadline set by the Coroner during the inquest looking into the death of toddler Awaab Ishak, the initiatives from both the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Department of Health confirm that the private rented sector's new housing ombudsman will lead the battle against mould.

A single Housing Ombudsman for the private rented sector (PRS) has been on the table since June last year when the '�Fairer Renting' White Paper was launched, a document that will form the basis of the Renters Reform Act due to be introduced to parliament this year.

This new ombudsman will oversee complaints by private tenants about a range of issues including mould and is one of several proposals and updates published by the Government over the weekend, the rest covering the social rented sector.

This announcement follows the recent inquest into the death of toddler Awaab Ishak during which the Coroner noted that the extreme mould within his family home was a major contributor to the tragedy.

Sharp relief

The joint statement from secretaries of state Michael Gove and Steve Barclays says: 'Awaab's case has thrown into sharp relief the need for renewed action to ensure that every landlord in the country makes certain that their tenants are housed in decent homes, and they are treated with dignity and fairness."

Other measures include ensuring mould is included within the existing '�housing health and safety rating system', specifying time limits landlords must meet on investigating hazards, and acting where there are health concerns.

ben beadle nrla

Ben Beadle, (pictured) Chief Executive of the NRLA says: "The tragic death of Awaab Ishtak provides a stark reminder that tenants should rightly expect that wherever they call home is safe and secure. Most private landlords provider this.

"Whilst we work constructively on the Government's review, at present there are almost 170 laws affecting the private rented sector and ministers are planning to develop a Decent Homes Standard. This is not an unregulated market. The problem is that a minority of rogue and criminal landlords are able to get away with their actions because of a lack of resources for councils to enforce [these laws]."


Richard Blakeway (pictured), the social Housing Ombudsman for England, appeared on Good Morning Britain ahead of the Government's statement, saying that some social landlords are wrong to blame tenants for '�lifestyle choices' that help create mould.

But his comments prompted one private landlord, Terri Baxendall, to say on social media that social tenants still have '�maintenance duties' when living in properties.

As LandlordZONE columnist Tom Entwistle recently pointed out, the energy price crisis is likely to see more tenants across both social and private sectors turning off their heating to save money, which in turn will increase problems with mould.


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