The Labour Party pledges to extend Awaab’s Law to private sector

The Labour Party has committed to extending Awaab’s Law – where social landlords have to fix hazards quickly – to the private sector if they come to power.

The new measures, which are currently under consultation, will mean social landlords have to investigate hazards within 14 days and make fixes in seven, as well as make emergency repairs within 24 hours.

Housing minister Baroness Scott of Bybrook was probed on extending the rules to the private sector in January, but said private landlords should be treated separately due to many only owning a few properties, and lacking the repair and maintenance teams compared to the social players.

However Labour see things differently, as deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “There is no justification for letting private landlords off the hook for resolving mould and damp issues in their properties.

“The private rented sector has widespread problems with damp, mould and cold, driven by the poor energy efficiency of privately rented homes.

“It is a no-brainer to extend Awaab’s Law to the private rented sector and that is exactly what Labour will do.”

Awaab’s Law has been named after the infant, Awaab Ishak, who died in December 2020 from prolonged exposure to mould in his home in Rochdale.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health said that, while it welcomes ‘political interest’ in raising standards in housing across ‘all tenures’, nothing will change until coucils are properly resourced.

Louise Hosking, its executive director of environmental health, said: “Local authorities are severely under-resourced. There is a need for sustained and predictable funding for the enforcement of housing standards – and a lot more of it.

“The regulatory framework around poor housing is already very complex and it can be hard for tenants themselves to use legal remedies.

“We would therefore like to see a greater focus on enabling local authorities to enforce existing legislation and will look forward to working with all the political parties on this issue.”