1.6 million children live in mouldy and damp homes

Thu,23 February 2023
News Housing

Based on a survey of 2,000 renters, analysis by Citizens Advice indicates that more than half of private renters in England (2.7m households) are currently struggling with dampness, mould, excessive cold or a combination of these factors.

Citizens Advice said poor energy efficiency is often the cause of these issues. And its study showed that tenants of private rentals are 73% more likely to live with dampness if they live in a property with an energy performance certificate rating of D-G rather than A-C. Tenants in a D-G property are 89% more likely to experience excessive cold than those with more efficient homes.

Citizens Advice warned that tenants in the private rental sector are some of the worst affected by the cost-of-living crisis and are paying for poor insulation.

The average private sector tenant in England is paying £350 more yearly on heating because of poorly insulated and damp homes, while those in the least efficient properties are paying an extra £950, it calculated.

With energy bills set to rise again in April, those in the least efficient homes could pay a "terrifying" £1,190 more a year to keep warm.

Some 40% of renters said they had felt stressed due to the dampness, mould and excessive cold within their homes. Citizens Advice is calling on the government to bring regulation of the private rental sector in line with social housing by following the lead set by 'Awaab's Law', a newly announced Government proposal which will place strict, legally binding timelines on social landlords to deal with serious issues such as damp and mould.

Mikey Erhardt, Housing Policy Lead at Disability Rights UK  said:

"As Disabled tenants, we need accessible, safe and affordable homes to support our health, wellbeing and independence. Appropriate housing is key to independent living and creating choice and control, and this should be the case when we rent privately. 

Too many Disabled renters live in dangerous, cold and damp homes. We pay too much for way too little. At the same time as increasing the stock of accessible housing, the government must tackle disrepair and conditions in the Private Rented Sector that aggravate our impairments/health conditions  or Disable us entirely. "