Social Housing: Mould

Lord Young of Cookham Excerpts
Wednesday 10th January 2024

(6 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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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.

Lord Young of Cookham Portrait Lord Young of Cookham (Con)
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My Lords, I welcome my noble friend back to the Dispatch Box. I welcome the speed with which the Government have implemented Awaab’s law and issued the consultation documents. Is there not now a dilemma facing social housing tenants who want their landlord to effect repairs? They can either go to the social housing regulator or to the Housing Ombudsman, which have different regimes but overlapping powers. Will my noble friend issue guidance so that social housing tenants can use the new powers the legislation has given to them?

Baroness Scott of Bybrook Portrait Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Con)
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My noble friend is right; this is all about communication, to make sure that tenants know what to do if they have an issue with their property. We have had a number of communications and marketing campaigns, such as Make Things Right, and the latest one is just being completed. That makes sure that all tenants know that, first, they should go to their social landlord, and if they do not get the right answer—or any answer, as sadly happens in some cases —they must go to the ombudsman. The social housing regulator will deal not with individuals but with bigger issues relating to individual housing associations.