England’s councils do not have enough data to identify the poorest housing in their area to better tackle homes that might pose a risk to tenants’ health.
And neither do they have the resource or local enforcement to ensure landlords address these issues, a principal consultant for the Building Research Establishment told the Health and Social Care Select Committee today (5 September).
The issue came to the foreground after two-year old Awaab Ishaak died from prolonged exposure to mould in his family’s housing association flat in Rochdale, a coroners inquest found last November.
Speaking at today’s hearing, committee member and Labour MP Paulette Hamilton pointed to several recent cases that have ‘highlighted the issue of a landlord’s obligation to fix disrepair and hazards in [their] properties than can damage a tenant’s health’.
When asked whether landlords should be better policed on this, Building Research Establishment’s Helen Garrett said: ‘I have colleagues that work with local authorities that are trying to identify particularly poor private rented accommodation.
‘It’s a huge challenge because a lot of the poorest housing goes under the radar, particularly houses in multiple occupation (HMO). What they tell us is they haven’t got the time or resources to find where the poorest housing exists in the first place. They don’t have the data. Secondly, they don’t have the resources or right skill sets to be able to locally enforce it.’