Money Wellness
A block of social housing flats
category iconhousing
calendar icon19 Jan 2024

Tenants must be protected from catastrophic health effects of poor housing – how to complain about your landlord

The government has been urged to take action to protect tenants whose health is being put at risk by poor-quality housing.

A report by the Health and Social Care Committee has said the Decent Homes Standard for social tenants needs to be updated as soon as possible, and a timetable set out for its extension to cover private tenants.

More than three years after promising to review and extend the Decent Homes Standard, the government still hasn’t introduced a legal minimum requirement to protect those renting privately.

The Decent Homes Standard hasn’t been updated since 2006.

Poor much more likely to die prematurely due to low-quality housing

The committee found the poorest members of society and those living in the least affluent areas are much more likely to develop life-limiting health conditions and to die prematurely as a result.

The most serious hazards were found to be:

  • fire and electrical risks
  • excess cold
  • excess heat
  • damp and mould
  • air pollution

In 2020, two-year-old Awaab Ishak died as the result of a respiratory conditions caused by mould in a social housing property.

Tenants deserve better legal protection

Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee Steve Brine commented:

“Poor quality homes can have a catastrophic impact on the health of the those who live in them. The death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak from a respiratory condition caused by mould in his home should leave ministers in no doubt that tenants in both the social and private rented sectors deserve greater protection by law."

Making a complaint about your housing association or local authority home

You may face a range of issues as a social housing or council house tenant. You might:

  • need repairs doing
  • have a mould problem
  • be dealing with a noisy neighbour

You don’t have to put up with these things. If you have a problem, you should follow these steps:

Making a complaint about your private landlord

If you’re a private tenant and you have a problem with your landlord, you should:

  • Follow your landlord’s complaint process.
  • If your issue isn’t resolved by making a complaint to your landlord, you can make a complaint to a ‘designated person’  - this could be your MP, a local councillor or a tenant panel.
  • If your problem still hasn’t been dealt with to your satisfaction, contact your local council.
Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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