The number of disrepair claims against housing associations is expected to rise significantly following a coroner’s ruling that the death of Awaab Ishak from a respiratory illness was caused by ‘chronic exposure to mould’ in the Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) flat where he lived.
National press coverage of the health risks posed by damp and mould is making more tenants aware of the steps they can take when a landlord fails to deal with the problem. Many reports highlight the difficulties tenants face when they try to get landlords to address disrepair issues, including failures to respond to complaints and long delays in repair work being carried out. In the meantime, tenants are being forced to endure unacceptable living conditions for periods of many months or even years.
Other reasons for the increasing number of disrepair claims against housing associations include a lack of funding and decades of underinvestment in council housing stock and maintenance and reporting procedures, as well as the cost of living crisis, particularly soaring energy bills, which means damp and mould spreading in underheated homes across the country.
When a landlord makes no effort to repair a damp and mould problem, tenants have few options apart from making a housing disrepair claim. The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 requires all landlords to maintain their properties to meet the minimum standard for human habitation, and gives tenants the power to take legal action if they believe their property is unfit for human habitation.
Our housing disrepair solicitors are sympathetic to the physical and emotional problems caused by landlords who let out substandard housing, and are experienced in disrepair claims against housing associations: