The Labour Party is intensifying its efforts to address the problem of mouldy homes, extending its focus from social housing to include private landlords. Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader and shadow housing secretary, asserts that proposed measures originally targeted at social housing landlords will now be broadened to encompass private landlords as well. This move is part of a commitment to ensure safe and habitable living conditions for tenants across various housing sectors.
The government’s proposal to compel social housing landlords to address issues related to unsafe homes has garnered support from Labour, emphasizing their dedication to extending these regulations to cover private rental properties. This expansion is seen as a crucial step in promoting a higher standard of living for tenants and holding landlords accountable for the condition of their properties, irrespective of the housing sector.
In a recent interview on ITV, Angela Rayner brought attention to the pressing issue affecting approximately 1.6 million children residing in houses plagued by issues like dampness, cold, and mould within the private sector. Rayner emphasized that the distinction between social landlords and private landlords loses significance when considering the pervasive challenge of mould, which is a shared concern irrespective of the housing sector.
Expanding on the broader societal impact, Rayner delved into the struggles faced by individuals who hesitate to raise concerns about their living conditions. This hesitation stems from the fear of potential repercussions such as Section 21 notices, commonly associated with no-fault evictions. The prospect of being made homeless under these circumstances instills genuine fear in tenants, hindering them from voicing legitimate concerns about their landlords and the substandard state of their homes. This scenario underscores broader anxieties about the future well-being and stability of families grappling with such housing challenges.
In her remarks on ITV, Rayner delved into the pressing issue of inadequate housing conditions, highlighting that 1.6 million children are currently residing in homes within the private sector that suffer from issues such as mould, dampness, or inadequate heating. According to her, the distinction between social landlords and private landlords becomes irrelevant when tenants face these common challenges, emphasizing the urgency of addressing such pervasive problems across all housing sectors.
Moreover, Rayner shared personal anecdotes, revealing the fear that some of her relatives and friends experience when contemplating raising concerns about their living conditions due to the risk of Section 21 notices leading to no-fault evictions. This fear, she argued, contributes to a climate of silence, hindering tenants from asserting their rights and exacerbating the conditions of their homes. Rayner underscored the need for comprehensive solutions that bridge the gap between social and private housing, ensuring the well-being of all tenants regardless of their housing arrangement.
In a recent development, the Department of Housing, Communities, and Local Government has taken a proactive step by initiating consultations to enhance regulations concerning social landlords who neglect their responsibility to provide safe living spaces. The proposed measures aim to instate rigorous time constraints, compelling social housing providers to swiftly address pressing issues such as dampness and mould, ensuring the well-being of their tenants.
Under the proposed regulations, social landlords would be legally obligated to investigate identified hazards within a stringent 14-day timeframe. Following this, repairs must commence within an additional seven days, with emergency repairs requiring completion within 24 hours. The proposal includes provisions for legal consequences for landlords failing to meet these obligations, potentially leading to court-ordered compensation to affected tenants. This move reflects a commitment to holding landlords accountable for maintaining safe and habitable living conditions for all residents.
Under the new regulations, social landlords are mandated to maintain transparent records, providing tenants with a clear overview of their efforts to adhere to the specified timeframes for addressing housing issues. This measure aims to eliminate any potential procrastination or delays in rectifying residents’ homes. It’s worth noting that, in contrast, the government has decided against implementing a similar law for private landlords.
* Last evening Angela Rayner herself tweeted: “Mould is mould. There is no justification for letting private landlords off the hook for resolving mould and damp issues in their properties. The Tories are refusing to extend protections to private renters. A Labour Government will.”