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NEW: Citizens Advice says Awaab's Law must be extended to PRS

citizens advice awaab mould dam|gillian cooper citizens' advice awaab

Citizens Advice has urged the government to extend Awaab's law to the PRS to help the estimated 1.6 million children living in damp, mouldy or excessively cold privately rented homes.

Awaab Ishtak died aged just two years old after living in a mouldy and poorly ventilated council flat that led to him suffering heart failure, and so far the Government has limited its measures to the social housing sector.

These include more powers for the sector's ombudsman and rules that will require landlords to investigate and fix serious problems within strict time limits.

Keep warm

New research by the charity found that 30% of renters can't heat their home to a comfortable temperature and that some in the least energy efficient properties are paying an extra �950 a year just to keep warm. 

Its poll of 2,000 private renters in England found 58% are struggling with either damp, mould or excessive cold or a combination of these issues. If these renters had two children and the figures were extrapolated, it would add up to 1.6 million affected children, reckons Citizens Advice.

It wants the private rental sector to be brought in line with social housing by following the lead set by Awaab's law - legislation which will place strict, legally binding timelines on social landlords to deal with damp and mould.

The Government has already announced that the PRS's new housing ombudsman will lead the battle against mould while new measures would specify the time limits landlords must meet on investigating hazards and acting where there are health concerns.

EPC call

The charity is also calling on the government to make good on its promise to ensure all new private rental properties are upgraded to a minimum EPC C by 2025 and existing tenancies by 2028, and for the cap on landlord investment to increase from �3,500 to �10,000. 

gillian cooper citizens' advice awaab

Gillian Cooper (pictured), head of energy policy at Citizens Advice, says every week it hears stories about people living in cold, damp and mouldy properties they can't afford to heat properly.

She adds: 'Improving energy efficiency in privately rented homes has never been more urgent. It's the step needed to keep people's essential bills low, while also helping to protect their mental and physical health.'�

Read more about mould and damp prevention.


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