United Kingdom

Tougher repair rules on the horizon for PRS?

Read time:
Black mould around a window

The cross-party health and social committee has called on the government to extend proposed social housing repair rules to the private rented sector.

Under the proposed Awaab’s Law (named after two-year-old Awaab Ishak, who died from a respiratory condition caused by mould exposure), social landlords have 14 days to investigate hazards, and a further 7 to make repairs – or just 24 hours if the repairs are urgent.

However, a government spokesperson has said that the laws would be inappropriate for the PRS. Housing minister Baroness Scott of Bybrook said that, unlike social housing providers, private landlords don’t usually have in-house maintenance teams to respond to issues quickly.

Instead, the government plans to introduce a Decent Homes Standard for privately rented homes as an amendment to the Renters (Reform) Bill. Since September, private landlords have also had to follow strict guidance on damp and mould, and can face unlimited fines if they fail to act.

Not gone for good

While the Conservative government looks unlikely to extend Awaab’s Law to the PRS, it could return under a Labour government. In a speech to the Chartered Institute of Housing this month, opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer said that it would be applied to private landlords too.

Labour politicians have claimed that 1.6 million children currently live in mouldy, damp or cold privately rented homes, and that the threat of a no fault eviction makes it difficult for tenants to ask for maintenance.

Managing maintenance

A poll of private sector tenants by the TDS Charitable Foundation suggests that most private landlords are handling maintenance promptly. The poll found that 60% of tenants had at least one maintenance issue in the last year, but of the 85% who reported the issue to their landlord, 78% had their issues fully or partly addressed.

However, if landlords do have to follow stricter maintenance timetables, it will be critical to encourage tenants to report issues promptly. Providing them with an online system for flagging maintenance issues, such as PayProp’s Tenant Portal, will help landlords and letting agents to respond quickly.

Other social housing headlines

Almost 10,000 social rent homes were lost last year in England – openDemocracy

Tory social housing plan aims to prioritise ‘British homes for British workers’ – The Guardian

Prince William to build £3 million social housing project to help end homelessness – The Mirror

No items found.

See PayProp in action

Let us show you how to get more out of work and more out of life!

  • Real-time property management
  • Real-time bank integration
  • Real-time reconciliation & payments