Legislation explained

Regulation on damp and mould in social and private rented properties

November 14, 2023

The UK government has recently published guidance on understanding and addressing the health risks of damp and mould in the home. This guidance aims to help individuals identify and tackle issues related to dampness and mould, which can have adverse effects on health if left unaddressed.

Every person across the country deserves to live in a home that is safe, warm, and dry. The case of 2-year-old Awaab Ishak’s tragic death in 2020 due to mould in his family home was undoubtedly a devastating event, and it is crucial that such incidents are not repeated.

The Coroner’s report into Awaab’s death shed light on a series of failures that contributed to this unfortunate outcome. It is a stark reminder of the importance of addressing issues related to dampness and mould in homes promptly and effectively.

The recently published guidance by the UK government on understanding and addressing the health risks of damp and mould in the home is a step towards preventing such tragedies. By providing comprehensive information and practical steps, this guidance aims to empower individuals to create safer and healthier living environments.

It is crucial for housing authorities, landlords, and homeowners to take the necessary measures to ensure that homes are free from dampness and mould. Regular inspections, maintenance, and prompt remediation of any issues are key to preventing the harmful effects that can arise from these conditions.

This guidance primarily targets social and private rented housing providers in England and their workforce, encompassing various accommodation providers. The document addresses the prevalence of damp and mould in homes and the associated health risks. It emphasises the vulnerability of certain populations, such as those in substandard housing, and introduces legislative standards for housing providers. 

The guidance outlines key legal standards related to damp and mould, including the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the Decent Homes Standard, and minimum energy efficiency standards for privately rented homes. It underscores the importance of complying with these standards and the potential legal consequences for non-compliance.

The guidance provides insights into the health effects of damp and mould, covering respiratory and other physical health impacts, as well as mental health effects. It identifies groups at increased risk and highlights the barriers tenants may face in reporting damp and mould. The document also suggests ways landlords can support vulnerable tenants and offers recommendations for addressing damp and mould issues promptly.


By prioritising the safety and well-being of individuals and families, we can work towards a future where no family has to endure the loss and suffering caused by preventable issues like mould.