Damp and Cold Inside the Home
Millions of renters are living in cold, damp, mouldy homes, improving the energy efficiency of properties is the long term solution needed to fix this but more regulation is needed to make this happen.
Living in poor quality housing has an effect on people's health. Forty percent of renters say they have felt stressed as a result of damp, mould and excessive cold, with 36% saying it made them feel anxious.
We are calling for minimum energy efficiency standards to be raised. This will slash bills and help reduce the public health concerns caused by cold, damp and mouldy 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. Legislation which will place strict, legally binding timelines on social landlords to deal with serious issues such as damp and mould. It's also crucial the government keeps the Energy Price Guarantee at £2,500, otherwise bills will rise by as much as £500, a jump which will push the number of people unable to afford their bills from 1 in 10 to 1 in 5.
In Wyre Forest, many have approached us for help who advise they are living with mould and damp. Some are also self-disconnecting as they are unable to afford to top up their meters - especially if the house is cold and difficult to keep warm. We are sent photos of walls and belongings covered in mould and landlords can be slow to react. Clients' mental and physical health are often badly affected.
Nationally in the private sector, 1.6 million children are currently living in privately rented homes with damp, mould or excessive cold.
30% of renters in the private sector say they can’t heat their home to a comfortable temperature, increasing to 45% of disabled tenants, and those in the least efficient homes are paying an extra £950 a year just to keep warm. With energy bills set to rise again in April, this could go up to terrifying £1,190 more a year.
The government must follow through on its promise to make sure all new rental properties are upgraded to a minimum EPC C by 2025, and existing tenancies by 2028