08 June 2021
The Housing Ombudsman has asked for evidence about damp and mould in social housing. This is the response of the National Housing Federation to that call for evidence.
We highlight that the quality of housing is of paramount importance to housing associations. Their purpose is not simply to provide housing for those in need but to ensure that their housing stock is suitable for its purpose, kept in good repair, warm and secure, and conducive to the good health of the occupants.
Across all sectors, the English Housing Survey reports that damp was an issue in 7% of privately rented dwellings, compared with 5% of council homes, 5% of housing association properties, and 2% of owner-occupied dwellings.
While issues of damp and mould may occur in housing in all sectors, we outline how they may be seen as more of a concern in the social housing sector because residents are likely to be disadvantaged already by other factors such as a low income, disability, infirmity or ill health. They have less scope than private sector residents to move home and less agency over the dwelling than owner-occupiers.
Social landlords, including housing associations, therefore recognise the particular importance for them and their residents of preventing damp and mould wherever possible and of successfully dealing with them when they occur.
Housing associations are always striving to improve their service to residents and are committed to learning from any instances where they have not addressed issues of damp and mould effectively. But in the great majority of cases they are able to deal with damp and mould quickly and effectively, as set in this response.