Housing Standards & Enforcement – NHC Private Rented Sector Network to Meet

The Secretary of State for Levelling up Housing & Communities has written to all Local Authority Chief Executives and Council Leaders, outlining the urgent need to prioritise the improvement of housing conditions for those in rented accommodation.

The correspondence comes in light of the tragic death of Awaab Ishak as a result of mould in his family home. In the letter, the Secretary of State has reminded Local Authorities of their duties under the Housing Act 2004 to keep housing conditions under review with a view to identifying necessary action that may need to be taken.

Highlighting the Act, the Secretary of State has directed that Local Authorities have particular regard to category 2 damp and mould hazards, as outlined in the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, and also:

  • Supply the department with an assessment of damp and mould issues affecting privately rented properties in their areas, including the prevalence of category 1 and 2 damp and mould hazards;
  • Supply the department with an assessment of action you have identified that may need to be taken in relation to damp and mould issues affecting privately rented properties in your area.

The Secretary of State has also directed councils to set out how they are prioritising enforcement of housing standards more generally in their authority, across all tenures, including what plans you have to ensure adequate enforcement capacity to drive up standards in the private rented sector. This is to be supported by a range of data including:

  • How many damp and mould hazards you have remediated, compared to your assessment of the prevalence of these hazards;
  • How many times you have taken enforcement action to remedy damp and mould hazards and the form this has taken;
  • How many civil penalty notices have been issued in relation to non-compliance with enforcement action over damp and mould hazards; and;
  • How many prosecutions have been successfully pursued in relation to damp and mould hazards.

Improving and enforcing housing quality in the Private Rented Sector is a longstanding priority for Northern Housing Consortium members and our PRS Network meets regularly to discuss good practice and the challenges of resourcing effective enforcement of quality and support to vulnerable tenants.

The PRS Network meets again 15th December, 12.00 – 14.00, online via Zoom. The meeting will include a discussion on recent events and members response to the Secretary of State. At the meeting we will also be joined by colleagues at the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities who will update attendees on their work improving the conditions and experiences of those in Supported Housing.

To attend, please register via MyNHC using the link below: