Quarter of a million social housing properties affected by damp and mould
Tighter regulation of RPs with a specific focus on tackling damp and mould issues is impacting the social housing industry as a whole.
It follows the tragic death of Awaab Ishak in Rochdale in 2020, and the subsequent call by the government for tighter regulations and a concerted effort to tackle this health issue.
Earlier this year the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) asked RPs to provide information on the prevalence of damp and mould in properties and the remedial actions being taken as a result. The findings of the survey reveal the extent of the issue.
A total of 1614 RPs provided information to RSH concerning 4.4million homes. When the regulator published its findings, the estimate was that up to a quarter of a million of these properties are affected to some degree by mould and damp.
As a result, the government has announced wide ranging proposals to tackle the issue, including a requirement for landlords to fix reported health hazards within specified timeframes while introducing greater powers for the Housing Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman is not only encouraging landlords to have a dedicated damp and mould strategy in place but is already actively investigating RPs who have failed to properly investigate damp and mould issues in their properties. This is all in addition to the recently announced Tenant Satisfaction Measures which require RPs to publish information on issues including repairs, safety checks and complaints to allow tenants to compare the performance of landlords and pursue issues with substandard housing.
At a time when resources are already stretched it is certainly a challenging time for RPs. The need to implement a damp and mould strategy and ensure repairs are resolved in agreed timescales has resulted in an increase in the need for skilled asset management and maintenance staff. Experienced, short term contractors are also in demand as RPs look to rectify damp and mould issues and improve customer satisfaction. Established recruiters like Ocean Edge who understand the current market provide specialist housing staff both on permanent and interim contracts to help landlords react to the changing regulations.
Read what the Regulator has to say about its findings on Inside Housing.