Your landlord could be fined £5,000 for mouldy or damp homes – rights for renters revealed | The Sun

HARSH weather can cause issues in your home like dampness and mould, and it's up to your landlord to fix them.

The government has set out clear rules for any landlord to follow so no renters are under similar circumstances this winter – we've listed your rights below.

Ministers are outlining the rules of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System and the Decent Homes Standard since the tragic death of toddler Awaab Ishak.

The two-year-old passed away after serious mould in his flat caused health issues, and authorities are now stepping up to address uninhabitable housing conditions.

In a letter to landlords registered with social housing, the Regulator for Social Housing (RSH) said landlords owning 1,000 homes or more must provide them with:

  • An extensive assessment of whether there's dampness or mould in a property
  • The method they used to carry out the assessment

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  • How they will tackle any dampness or mould found
  • How they will identify and deal quickly with any similar issues found by tenants

Any landlords with fewer than 1,000 properties must have been told to get in touch with RSH if mould has not been dealt with, or they aren't sure how to do it.

Fiona MacGregor, chief executive of RSH, said: "The tragic case of Awaab Ishak, who died of a respiratory condition caused by mould in his home, has rightly focused attention on the responsibility of all registered providers – private and local authority – to ensure that the homes they provide are well-maintained and of a decent standard.

"It demonstrates the serious effects that having damp and mould in their homes can have on people’s health and it has highlighted once again the importance of providers listening to their tenants’ concerns, understanding their diverse needs, removing barriers to accessing services and responding promptly."

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She continued: "Damp and mould are potential hazards under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System; failing to address them could lead to failure of the Decent Homes Standard and our Home Standard.

"All providers should have systems in place to ensure that their homes are free from hazardous levels of damp and mould, and to identify and deal with cases promptly and effectively."

Landlords can currently be fined up to £5,000 for not adhering to RSH standards, if they don't put things right.

Meanwhile, The Social Housing Regulation Bill, which is now in parliament, would give the RSH the power to issue unlimited fines.

What are my rights?

Here are a few things to remember if you think your home isn't up to scratch:

You can't be charged admin costs or renewal fees – estate agents and landlords are banned from charging tenants extra fees to cover administration costs, such as removing mould.

You may be entitled to a payout if your landlord refuses to carry out repairs – your landlord is responsible for most of the repairs that need to be carried out on your home.

According to housing charity Shelter, these include fixing issues with the electrical wiring, gas pipes and boilers, heating and hot water, sinks, baths and toilets.

And RSH has confirmed landlords are responsible for dampness and mould too.

Tenants are responsible for repairing their own furnishings, such as a fridge or freezer if the property is let unfurnished.

You may be entitled to compensation from your landlord if they fail to carry out repair work within a reasonable time, or if your house is unfit to live in due to poor conditions.

This may be in the form of a rent reduction or a payout.

If your landlord agrees to this, Shelter advises you to get it in writing.

If your landlord won't agree, renters can take legal action to claim compensation either during the tenancy or after it ends.

Renters can sue landlords over damp and mould – renters in England and Wales can take their landlords to court over problems including cold and damp homes.

Landlords must already make sure that your home is fit to live in under the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act and tenants can sue for compensation if their home isn't up to scratch.

The Decent Homes Standard just makes these requirements legally binding.

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The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) said the move comes as part of plans to halve the number of poor-quality homes by 2030.

The rules apply to new tenancies of under seven years, new secure, assured and introductory tenancies, and to tenancies renewed for a fixed term.

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