Awaab’s Law Consultation

On the 9th January 2023, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) launched its consultation Awaab’s Law.

A new legal requirement is proposed for landlords to investigate hazards within 14 days and that once a hazard is identified, landlords must start fixing it within a further 7 days and make any emergency repairs within 24 hours.

The consultation seeks views on :

  • Timescales for initial investigations of potential hazards;
  • Requirements to be placed upon landlords to provide written summaries of investigation findings;
  • Timescales for beginning repair works;
  • Timescales for completing repair works;
  • Timescales for emergency repairs;
  • The circumstances under which properties should be temporarily decanted to protect residents’ health and safety; and
  • Requirements to be placed upon landlords to maintain adequate record keeping throughout repair works.

This is a crucial time for the sector and vital that Registered Providers of Social Housing respond.

Once any new legal requirement is enacted, any set timescales will be implied into all assured tenancy agreements, so it is vital that Landlords respond to the consultation and prepare.

Here are the proposals in more detail:

1. Hazards

It is proposed all 29 Hazards under the HHSRS would be relevant and there would be no need for the hazard to be category 1.

To determine whether a hazard poses a significant risk and is therefore in scope of Awaab’s Law, their recommendation is that landlords use their judgement and the existing procedures they have in place for repairs.

2. Initial investigations 

It is proposed that Landlords investigate the causes of damp and mould within 14 calendar days of the initial complaint being made. This can be notified to a Landlord through standard communication of letters, emails, calls but also through a tenant notifying anyone from the organisation of the issue i.e., a neighbourhood officer attending the property, a contractor carrying out a different repair.

It is vital everyone in the organisation is aware of the steps to take if any hazard is reported to them.

The point at which the Landlord becomes aware of the issue is the point at which the legal obligations under Awaab’s Law will begin.

If a matter is in Court and the Landlord is found to be in breach of the timescales, the Court can order the Landlord to do the repairs, pay compensation or pay some/all of the tenant’s legal costs. If a breach is escalated to the Housing Ombudsman, they have the power to order Landlords to undertake repairs and pay compensation to the resident.

3. Written summaries of findings 

Within 2 days of the inspection, and within 14 days of the initial report, the Landlord must provide a written summary to the resident of their findings, including who inspected the property, when and how the inspection took place, whether a hazard has been identified, whether it poses a  significant risk to residents’ health or safety and what the next steps will be, the anticipated timeline for repairs, and a proposed schedule of works.   The customer will also need to be given contact details for the landlord should they have any questions.

Appropriately logging notice and actions thereafter will be more important than ever, so that a detailed and compliant response can be provided within the timescale.

4. Beginning repair works 

If a hazard is identified and poses a significant risk to the health and safety of the resident, the Landlord must begin repair works within 7 calendar days of the written summary being issued.

5. Completing repair works 

Following works being raised, a Landlord must satisfactorily complete the repair works within a reasonable time period. The resident should be informed of this time period and their needs should be considered.

There may be circumstances for the tenant that need to be taken into account when planning works i.e. they may have health issues that mean works being carried out must be planned in a particular way. It is vital that the tenant is kept up to date with all timescales and appointments.

6. Timescales for emergency repairs 

If an emergency repair is raised by the tenant or is found during the initial investigation, a Landlord must action this as soon as practicable and, in any event, within 24 hours of the initial report/finding.

The Consultation provides an example list of emergency repairs as follows:

a. Gas leaks

b. Broken boilers

c. Lack of water supply

d. Electrical hazards such as exposed wiring

e. Significant leaks

f. Broken external doors or windows that present a risk to home security

g. Prevalent damp and mould that is impacting the tenant’s ability to breathe

This will likely coincide mostly with the ‘emergency’ repairs that are already considered by Landlords.

7. Decanting 

If a hazard is identified that poses an imminent risk of harm or danger to the tenant and it cannot be made safe within the timescales set out above, the Landlord must arrange for the tenant’s stay in a suitable alternative accommodation until it is safe to return.

It is noted that a provision is included for a defence if Landlords have taken all reasonable steps to comply, but it has not been possible for reasons beyond their control.

8. Record keeping 

Landlords are expected to keep clear records evidencing all attempts to arrange and do works – including all correspondence with the tenant and contractors alike.

Landlords must make at least 3 attempts to contact the customer to arrange an appointment and they must work with customers to arrange a suitable time.  Landlords will be expected to offer timeslots for customers to choose from.

If there is a no access, the landlord will need to leave a calling card with contact details and evidence that this card was left will need to be retained.

Landlords will not be expected to make more than 3 attempts to access the property within agreed timeslots, but they will be expected to keep accurate records of their attempts.

If there is a shortage of labour and/or materials, a Landlord will be expected to keep the customer updated on any delays and keep records of their communications and their attempts to source workers and/or materials in case they are challenged for failing to meet timescales.

Impact assessment 

An Impact Assessment has also been published alongside the consultation which sets out an overview of costs expected to meet the proposals detailed above.

Consultation Responses

The Consultation is open until 11.59pm on 5th March 2024. As above, the Government are seeking views from across the sector. Landlords can respond to the consultation via the online survey at .

Next Steps for Landlords 

The introduction of Awaab’s Law will see one of the biggest reforms in Housing Law in a decade. Its impact will be felt across the sector and Landlords must start planning now.

Landlords should now be :

  1. Responding to the consultation.
  2. Assessing whether your repairs/assets team have the capacity to meet the timescales proposed. If not, your organisation needs to plan so it will be able to cope with the expected new laws, once implemented.
  3. Reviewing whether your organisation’s recording keeping is adequate. Most Social Housing Providers started this review following the Housing Ombudsman’s KIM spotlight report, but this will now need to be reassessed in the light of the proposals.
  4. Assessing whether your organisation has sufficiently skilled members of staff that can appropriately deal with repairs and decants where required.
  5. Reviewing your organisations decant capacity and process. If you have to move a customer out urgently, do you have accommodation available?
  6. Reviewing any access process. Would it comply with the proposals within the consultation?
  7. Reviewing training for all staff. Do your people know what the 29 HHSRS Hazards are?  Do they understand your repair obligations?
  8. Reviewing its out of hours (weekend) repairs capacity, as the timescales proposed are calendar days, not working days.

Should you or your organisation require any further information or advice on Awaab’s Law Consultation, please contact Beth McKeown at or Louise Murphy at .

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