How Awaab’s Law Might Affect You

A man in a dark polo shirt holding a clipboard whilst inspecting a mouldy wall
Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Mar 20, 2024
3 minutes read

Back in 2020, two-year-old Awaab Ishak died from exposure to extensive mould, which led to a respiratory condition. Since then, the UK Government has passed what’s commonly known as “Awaab’s Law”. This is designed to address issues in social housing quickly and effectively.

What Is Black Mould?

As a microscopic fungus that grows in damp places, black mould can be dangerous if left untreated. The mould spores are released into the air, which can then enter your airways. Prolonged exposure can cause respiratory illnesses, infections and allergies. People with asthma can also suffer.

It’s not just inhaling the spores that can cause issues either, as touch can cause allergic reactions, red eyes or a skin rash. Sneezing can also be a symptom.

The groups most at risk from black mould are the elderly, children and babies. Anyone with skin problems or respiratory issues is also likely to be affected.

What Causes Mould?

Condensation is the biggest cause of mould growth in homes. High moisture levels are found in bathrooms, kitchens and around windows. When air cools, it condenses as water vapour on surfaces that aren’t warm or well ventilated. Uninsulated walls and windows are commonly affected.

Untreated areas become the perfect place for mould to grow, as excess moisture lingers. The only way to prevent this is to wipe down affected areas and increase ventilation.

Who’s Responsible for Mould in Rented Accommodation?

Both private and social landlords have responsibility to ensure a home is in good state or repair. A landlord is therefore responsible for fixing mould problems. The only exception is if there’s evidence to suggest a tenant hasn’t been ventilating a home properly.

As a tenant, you are required to keep your rented accommodation in a good state of cleanliness. Wiping down surfaces and providing an adequate level of ventilation is included in this. Extractor fans should be used whenever cooking or washing, and windows should be opened whenever washing is drying indoors.

What Awaab’s Law Is

To prevent further tragic deaths from mould in rented accommodation, Awaab’s Law sets a time frame for landlords to address issues more quickly. Social landlords are expected to investigate issues within 14 days, and start to address them within 7 days. If emergency repairs are necessary, these should be made within 24 hours.

If a social landlord doesn’t comply with this legislation, they will be taken to court and expected to pay compensation to the tenant.

Put simply, the landlord’s responsibilities for damp are to quickly address reports and identify any root causes before implementing a solution. Tenants are expected to notify their landlord straight away of any damp or mould problems. Once the landlord is aware, they should be allowed access as quickly as possible.

What to Do If Your Landlord Is Ignoring You

A landlord has ultimate responsibility for keeping your home safe. If you’ve reported issues to them and they haven’t responded, you could be eligible to make a housing disrepair claim. A period of 3 weeks is considered long enough to wait without an issue being addressed or looked into.

If you’ve got an unresponsive landlord, making a claim for housing disrepair can legally force them to fix any ongoing issues in your home. Additionally, you can be awarded compensation for the inconvenience.

Start your housing disrepair claim by clicking on the button below.