The Government has published guidance intended to ensure that landlords, whether in the social or private sectors, have a thorough understanding of their legal responsibilities in relation to dealing with damp and mould in homes. The guidance, Understanding and addressing the health risks of damp and mould in the home, was produced by the Department for Health and Social Care, the Department for Levelling Up, Homes and Communities, and the UK Health Security Agency, and applies to England.
The guidance states: ‘Everyone has the right to a warm, secure and decent home and to be treated with dignity and fairness. Yet many people in England are living in a home with damp and mould, which may put their health at risk. Estimates of the number of homes in England with damp and mould range from 4% to 27% of homes, or 962,000 to 6.5m households.’
The reported figure varies due to differences in how damp and mould is measured and how it is reported. People living in private or social rented housing are more likely to live in a home with damp and mould than are owner occupiers.
In December 2020, two-year-old Awaab Ishak died from a severe respiratory infection caused by prolonged exposure to damp and mould in his home. The guidance has been produced in response to concerns raised by the Coroner following an inquest into Awaab’s death. In particular, it addresses the concern that ‘there was no evidence that up-to-date relevant health information pertaining to the risks of damp and mould was easily accessible to the housing sector’.