Awaab's Law: A Landmark Move Towards Safer Social Housing
Photo Credit: ITV News
In a significant development aimed at improving the living conditions of social housing tenants across the UK, Housing Secretary Michael Gove announced the introduction of 'Awaab's Law' on February 9, 2023. This groundbreaking legislation, set to be incorporated into the Social Housing (Regulation) Bill, will require social housing landlords to promptly investigate and rectify reported health hazards, particularly damp and mould, within specified timeframes. The introduction of Awaab's Law follows the tragic death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak, a heartbreaking incident caused by the dreadful living conditions in his Rochdale Boroughwide Housing-managed home.
Awaab's Law represents a significant step towards safeguarding the rights and well-being of social housing tenants. Under this legislation, a consultation will be launched later this year to establish the specific timeframes within which landlords must respond to hazards and make necessary repairs. These rules will become an integral part of tenancy agreements, allowing tenants to legally hold landlords accountable for failing to provide safe and decent living conditions.
The amendments to the Social Housing (Regulation) Bill, which encompass Awaab's Law, are part of a broader effort by the government to elevate standards in the social housing sector. They seek to ensure that landlords are held accountable for the quality of service they provide to their tenants.
Speaking about the legislation, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities Michael Gove said, "The tragic death of Awaab Ishak should never have happened. He was inexcusably let down, and his family repeatedly ignored. Today we have announced tough new laws to force social landlords to fix their homes within strict new time limits. Those landlords who continue to drag their feet over dangerous damp and mould will face the full force of the law."
The government has already committed to a comprehensive review of existing guidance on the health impacts of damp and mould, followed by tailored guidance specific to the housing sector, set to be published by the summer of 2023. Additionally, new powers announced will bolster the Housing Ombudsman's role in ensuring that landlords learn from past mistakes. This includes the ability to instruct landlords to measure their service against guidance on issues such as damp and mould, driving improvements following tenant complaints.
Furthermore, the amendments to the Social Housing (Regulation) Bill encompass improvements to insolvency arrangements, data protection, and the requirement for written reports following inspections. These changes aim to create a more robust regulatory framework that ensures the safety and well-being of social housing tenants.
The proposal for Awaab's Law will be introduced via secondary legislation and signifies the government's commitment to improving the quality of social housing in the UK. As part of this commitment, Michael Gove recently announced £30 million for Greater Manchester and the West Midlands to initiate projects aimed at enhancing the quality of social housing in these regions.
In memory of Awaab Ishak, Awaab's Law represents a crucial step towards ensuring that social housing tenants have access to safe, decent, and comfortable living conditions. This legislation not only pays homage to Awaab's memory but also serves as a beacon of hope for countless individuals and families living in social housing, promising a brighter and healthier future within their homes.
If you are looking for help and support with damp and mould in your property, or the homes that you manage, please contact us via our Sales Manager Lee Frost on 07385830739, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help.