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:
- Go through your landlord’s complaint process – it’s their job to listen to your complaint and put things right.
- If you’re unhappy with your landlord’s response, you can escalate your concern to the Housing Ombudsman Service.
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.
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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