Personal Law

Housing Ombudsman to Investigate Damp and Mould

Estimated read time: 2 mins

Carrie Tennick, April 15, 2021

The UK’s Housing Ombudsman is launching an investigation into damp and mould problems within the social rented sector.

Announcing a request for evidence from residents and landlords, the Ombudsman said an initial review of its case data has revealed that damp and mould is a significant part of the work it does.

It said that it found maladministration by landlords was involved in 55% of the 112 cases of damp and mould it formally examined in the last two years. Compensation in this period reached £68,000. The Ombudsman said this shows that damp and mould has a significant impact on residents.

Maladministration refers to a formal decision by the Ombudsman that a landlord has failed to do something, done something it shouldn’t have or caused an unreasonable delay.

Unliveable conditions

The Housing Ombudsman handles complaints about housing organisations registered with it. It focuses on resolving disputes between tenants and leaseholders and social landlords.

It also handles disputes involving voluntary members – usually private landlords and letting agents.

In March 2021, the Ombudsman explained how it will start looking beyond individual disputes to identify issues affecting residents and landlords. This new service allows it to request evidence, which it is now using to investigate damp and mould problems.

The new investigation follows a report by ITV News on “unliveable” conditions in homes in Croydon, London.

Decent home

Housing Ombudsman Richard Blakeway said: “A decent home is a fundamental need but the impact of damp and mould can be significant on households, their health and their life chances.

“Our casebook gives cause for concern, with a high maladministration rate and sometimes substantial levels of compensation, although I am also concerned that we are not seeing cases where we could help, and want to investigate further into this issue.”

He went on to say that his office wants to take an in-depth look at the response of social landlords to damp and mould. This will lead to recommendations to help landlords develop their approach to benefit their residents.

Blakeway added that the investigation will welcome contributions from residents and landlords regardless of whether the Ombudsman has handled complaints from them.

If you’re currently caught up in a tenant-landlord dispute, First4Lawyers could help you get the right legal advice to come to a resolution. To find out how we could help, just give us a call or make an enquiry online and we’ll take it from there.

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