Damp and mould remain a major issue for the housing sector

The UK Government is currently consulting on the implementation of Awaab’s Law, which was passed in response to the tragic death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak in December 2020 from exposure to serious damp and mould in his parents’ social rented home.

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Whilst this Law imposes stringent conditions on social landlords to investigate hazards within 14 days, start repair work within seven days, and make emergency repairs within 24 hours, the UK Government ruled out a comparable law for private landlords. However, Shadow Housing Secretary Angela Rayner MP has committedto extending protection to private renters if the Labour Party comes to power at the next election.

Supporting tenants with damp and mould issues

Agents and landlords in the private rented sector shouldn’t just wait for laws to be passed to protect agents. It is widely publicised that agents and property owners are frequently criticised and penalised for mould and damp issues, however, the reality is less straightforward.

The agent, property owner and tenant should work together to keep air moisture in the property under control, avoid possible structural damage, or identify a plumbing or drainage issue.

Agents can help tenants by providing information so they can stay on top of any issues take simple actions to improve airflow wipe away condensation and outline responsibilities for each party.

A property owner is responsible for maintaining the fabric of the property, including heating and ventilation systems, roofs, walls, and pipework. They must also treat and rectify any dampness in the property to reduce moisture build-up.

Property inspection software can help

To assist agents in managing property inspections to identify issues early, KPR has software that includes a Fitness for Human Habitation (FFHH) manager, with a built-in tracker for the nine elements of FFHH:

  • Repair
  • Stability
  • Freedom from damp
  • Internal arrangement
  • Natural lighting
  • Ventilation
  • Water supply
  • Drainage and sanitary conveniences
  • Facilities for storage, preparation, and cooking of food and the disposal of wastewater.

Help sheets aimed at tenants and a property self-assessment tool for residents to speed up the maintenance process are also included. It allows the tenant to fill out a report with photos and videos to send directly to the managing agent. This will then assist the agent in selecting the relevant contractor without having to book appointments to visit the property.

Agent expertise can assist in developing solutions

To ensure the industry has the solutions, KPR is developing a specific interactive Condensation, Damp and Mould tool, to further assist agents and tenants.

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