Awaab, who died in 2020 from mould within his home at the age of 2, has reignited concerns in society and, specifically within those who are renting and landlords alike. The government is currently promoting the Social Housing Regulation Bill with the aim to give the Regulator of Social Housing more powers.
- Enable the regulator to intervene with landlords who are performing poorly on consumer issues and guarantee timely action where the regulator has concerns about the decency of a home.
- Enable the regulator to inspect landlords and arrange emergency repairs to ensure tenants are provided with good quality accommodation.
- Provide tenants with greater transparency about their landlord’s performance by introducing a new set of Tenant Satisfaction Measures
- Enable tenants to access information related to the management of social housing.
- Add safety to the regulator’s objectives and require registered providers to appoint a health and safety lead.
- Require the housing ombudsman and the regulator to cooperate to provide better protection for tenants.
Housing Minister Michael Gove has been quoted recently in parliament as saying, “The Reforms we are making will help to relieve the burden on tenants with an emboldened and more powerful regulator.” This could have serious ramifications for private landlords as well as large social housing bodies, as there have been issues raised by the BBC the past month about the state of private properties that have not been kept in a liveable condition.
What can be done to get ahead of possible new legislation?
The most obvious answer would be to start internally with proper ventilation and the use of dehumidifiers, the latter not being viable for many with the prices of electricity at present. Additionally, it is a common misconception that just opening the window will help with damp and mould, especially within the damper and colder months. The reason for this is because the humidity of the air outside is usually higher than that of the internal humidity.
There are other options that can be used to combat mould and damp. These include cleaning out gutters that can be blocked up with debris and organic growth. If gutters are not cleared regularly, they overflow and water can drop down into the walls of the property and penetrate the brick work leading to damp and eventually mould, this is particularly important on north facing walls as they are least likely to dry out with no sun on the face of the building.
Gutter clearing from the safety of the ground.
Roof cleaning is just as important as gutter cleaning but is often overlooked as the roof is not always immediately in sight on most properties.
Moss and other organic growth can damage roofs over a long period of time and hide damage that is already present. Moss itself absorbs large amounts of water and can result in roof tiles being permanently wet, this can cause damp within the home and over time this will result in mould growth within the home.
Moss and mould will grow predominantly in moist, dark, and cool areas. As with north facing gutters, north facing roofs are the most likely to suffer with organic growth.
Hopefully this quick look at roof and gutter cleaning will provide some solutions and preventative measures for internal mould and property maintenance alike. As with the importance of a house that is fit to live in, it is also important to work safely and, on the ground, wherever possible.