Social Housing: Mould

Lord Khan of Burnley Excerpts
Wednesday 10th January 2024

(6 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Asked by
Lord Khan of Burnley Portrait Lord Khan of Burnley
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To ask His Majesty’s Government what recent assessment they have made of conditions in social housing, including levels of mould.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (Baroness Scott of Bybrook) (Con)
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My Lords, the English Housing Survey found that in 2022, 10% of social homes failed to meet the decent homes standard and 5% had a problem with damp. The Government have now introduced Awaab’s law, requiring the Secretary of State to set out new requirements for landlords to address hazards such as damp and mould in social homes within a fixed period. We published our consultation on those requirements yesterday, 9 January.

Lord Khan of Burnley Portrait Lord Khan of Burnley (Lab)
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My Lords, may I say how pleased I am to see the noble Baroness back in her place?

The death of two year-old Awaab, who was killed by mould in Rochdale, was a shocking insight into the condition of many social homes across the country. Unfortunately, millions of children in the private rented sector are also living with damp, mould or excessively cold temperatures, causing conditions such as asthma, pneumonia and respiratory illness. What plans do the Government have to tackle poor conditions for tenants in private rented homes?

Baroness Scott of Bybrook Portrait Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Con)
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My Lords, there are differences between the rented housing tenures. Almost half of private rental landlords own a single property and the vast majority own fewer than five so, unlike social housing landlords, very few will have in-house or contracted repair and maintenance teams, which makes it more difficult. We have to consider proportionate timescales in legislation for the private rented sector. However, we are taking action to improve the safety and decency of private rented homes through the Renters Reform Bill, which will be in this House shortly. We have introduced an amendment to the Bill to apply a decent homes standard to the private rental sector for the first time and to give local councils enforcement powers to deal with non-decent homes. As I say, that Bill will be introduced to this House shortly. We will also set up a new private rented sector ombudsman through that Bill, which will also have extra powers.