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How would the extension of Awaab's Law affect private landlords and tenants?

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The implementation of ‘Awaab’s Law’ in July 2023 into the Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 came after the death of 2-year-old Awaab Ishak in December 2020. His cause of death was a respiratory condition which resulted from prolonged exposure to mould in his home, a council flat in Rochdale.

However, this newly introduced legislation requires only social landlords to repair any damp and mould issues within certain time limits. Social landlords will have to investigate hazards within 14 days, start repairs within a further seven days, and make emergency repairs within 24 hours. Failure to meet these time limits could result in court action towards these landlords.

Labour vows to extend Awaab’s Law into the private rented sector to ensure that private landlords repair mould and damp issues in their own properties within this set time frame. Deputy Labour Leader Angela Rayner has previously stated that “any good landlord will already be checking their properties regularly and thoroughly for damp issues.” Speaking on Good Morning Britain on 30th January 2024, she said that “1.6 million children are living in cold, damp and mouldy homes in the private rented sector.” 

Landlords may view this as a one-sided rental market, and argue that tenants can also fail to keep the property clean and to an appropriate standard. They may comply with certain requirements, and that a home that they have invested money into has now been ruined. 

However, due to this reason, tenants are also scared to approach this subject to their landlord, as they live in fear that they will be evicted from their homes through a Section 21 (no-fault-eviction) notice. Although this does not apply to all landlords, if a tenant was to raise a concern, they need to feel reassured that the matter would get resolved quickly and that they would be able to remain in their home.

Speaking on Twitter (X) on 30th January 2024, Ms Rayner also stated that ‘there is no justification for letting private landlords off the hook for resolving mould and damp issues in their properties.’ Rayner also feels that the regulations as they stand at the moment favour more towards landlords (speaking on LBC on October 24 2023). Therefore, Labour pledge to extended this legislation to apply to private landlords to protect renters, and to create a more equal balance in the private rented sector.

Our specialist landlord and tenant solicitors can assist residential landlords and tenants with a range of matters including landlord responsibilities. Contact our team today on 0161 696 6170.