Housing Ombudsman Service One year on follow up report: Spotlight on damp and mould – it’s not lifestyle’. 

On 2nd February 2023, the Housing Ombudsman Service published a follow-up report from ‘Spotlight on damp and mould – it’s not lifestyle’.   

The key finding were: 

  • Landlords are still hiding behind legal proceedings. Landlords should use the complaints procedure until legal proceedings have been issued and complaints policies should not exclude pre action claims.  
  • Dignity, respect, and fairness. Landlords have shown some good practice, but they should remove ‘lifestyle’ from publications and avoid blaming tenants. Cultural and attitudinal changes in the sector are essential to effect positive change. 
  • Good governance, and knowledge & information management. This is the golden thread running through the recommendations. The Ombudsman was disappointed at how few landlords had acted on the recommendations to have a dedicated damp and mould policy.  Landlords should adopt a risk-based approach to damp and mould. 


The Ombudsman also identified 10 key factors that will have an impact on how successful any action plan is in practice. These are: 


  1. Find your silence. 
  2. Proactive communication strategy. 
  3. Treat residents fairly. 
  4. Improve record-keeping. 
  5. Know your residents. 
  6. Check net zero plans. 
  7. Know your stock. 
  8. Dedicated damp and mould strategy. 
  9. Empower staff. 
  10. Use the complaints system to learn. 


A full copy of the report can be accessed via the following link. 


It is clear that landlords need to continue to implement and embed the recommendations in the report and the key factors above are a good practical framework.  A clear, well drafted, and risk-based damp and mould policy is at the heart of good governance. If you have any questions on the legal aspects of such a policy, please do not hesitate to contact Louise Murphy, Head of Social Housing and Regeneration at MSB at louisemurphy@msbsolicitors.co.uk.  


Law is correct as at 8th February 2023. 


Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure that the law in this article is correct, it is intended to give a general overview of the law for educational purposes. You are respectfully reminded that it is not intended to be a substitute for specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. No liability is accepted for any error or omission contained herein. 


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