The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove MP, has set out the actions the government is taking in response to the coroner’s report into the death of Awaab Ishak. In his letter to the coroner, Gove set out four areas in which the government is taking action.
The government committed to completing the review of the Decent Homes Standard, with a particular focus on how damp and mould are assessed. We worked closely with members and with the government on the first phase of this review and will continue to engage closely as plans come forward for the next phase.
We know that members are committed to tackling damp and mould, and improving the quality of social homes. Over the coming weeks, we will continue to work closely with the government and members on the areas outlined above, and on implementing the recommendations of the Better Social Housing Review.
The government has committed to completing the review of the HHSRS, with a focus on making it easier to understand and implement, as well as ensuring that damp and mould is properly captured and the evidence base is up to date. We know that members support this review and we will continue to work with the government on the detail.
In September 2023, the Department for Health and Social Care has produced new guidance for housing professionals on the health risks of damp and mould. Members have agreed with the coroner that there is a gap here. We welcome this new guidance and will work closely with the government to ensure it is made available to all members.
In his letter to the coroner, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove MP set out the government’s intention to publishing a policy statement on approaches to tackling serious hazards in social housing, including damp and mould. On Thursday 9 February 2023, he announced new measures that will enshrine tenants’ rights into law.
The government has tabled amendments to the Social Housing Regulation Bill to introduce ‘Awaab’s Law’, which will require landlords to fix reported health hazards within specified timeframes. The new rules will form part of the tenancy agreement, so tenants can hold landlords to account by law if they fail to provide a decent home.
In our discussions with the government, we have been clear that members support a clearer framework for tackling damp and mould, and we welcome the government’s consultation later this year to set timeframes within which landlords will have to act to investigate hazards and make repairs.