United Kingdom

Regulator releases report on damp

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A person cleaning mould on the wall using a sponge

The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) has reported back after a months-long investigation into damp and mould in that sector.

While the RSH has so far only released its initial findings, the results show that 3-4% of the properties owned by local authorities and housing associations in England have damp or mould problems – somewhere between 120,000 and 160,000 homes. 1-2% have serious enough damp and mould to qualify as a Category 2 hazard under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), while 0.2% (around 8,000 homes) would qualify as a Category 1 HHSRS hazard – the most serious kind.

The RSH also found that many social landlords didn’t have a clear idea of how many of their properties were affected. They have now called for an awareness campaign to fix this. According to a spokesperson for the organisation, the causes of damp include condensation from cooking and showering, but also rain getting into the property or rising damp due to faulty damp proof courses.

The study didn’t look into private rented sector accommodation, but damp and mould can also be found in privately rented homes. The latest English Housing Survey found that 4% of homes had damp serious enough to appear on a HHSRS assessment, and that 11% had some level of damp – more than in the social sector.

PRS landlords and agents have made good progress reducing damp problems. The 2001 English Housing Survey found that 10% of privately rented homes had serious damp and mould, more than double the proportion now. But some of that progress could be undone by the rising cost of living if tenants turn down their thermostats or stop opening windows. As in the social housing sector, private sector landlords and agents will need to stay vigilant.

Other tenant headlines

Goodbye London! Tenants leave capital in record numbers – Daily Mail

Tenants’ mental health hit by high rents – claim – Letting Agent Today

Lawyers warn of “huge gaps” in legal aid for tenants facing eviction – LandlordZONE

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