Uswitch Energy has produced the Mouldy Nation Report, looking at the prevalence of mould across rented homes, including local authority and housing association properties.
Nine of the ten most complained about authorities were in London, with Haringey performing the worst, closely followed by Hammersmith and Fulham. Haringey received an estimated 46.6 complaints per 10,000 housing units making it the most complained about local authority to the Housing Ombudsman.
According to the English Housing Survey, over the past decade, local authority housing has seen a 33% fall in damp and mould found in dwellings. At the same time, housing associations have seen a 19% rise since 2012. The proportion of all English properties with damp and mould has dropped by 17%.
Other key findings:
- 63% of those who’ve experienced mould were tenants in privately rented, local authority, housing association, or student accommodation.
- In the last two years, 69% have put the heating on less due to cost. Of these people, over half (54%) believe that mould has become more of a problem in their homes because of this.
- 67% of people believe that mould is the landlord’s responsibility when found in rented accommodation.
- Heating the home was a financial struggle for 57% of people when they experienced mould in their home.
- 38% believe that UK properties are not suitably built to prevent mould.
Ben Galizzi, Uswitch energy expert, said:
Living in a mouldy home is not only an unpleasant experience but one that is potentially dangerous for our health. Yet so many of us have lived with mould at some time in our lives.
Whether you’re a tenant or homeowner, tackling mould can be an ongoing issue if the root cause isn’t rectified. But with so many properties being poorly insulated, and energy costs rising, keeping mould at bay is a difficult task.
Reasonable steps should be taken by both landlords and tenants to make sure mould is tackled head-on. This could mean that tenant habits need to change within the home, whilst larger projects to fix the building are worked on by the landlord.
Keeping a home warm, especially in winter, will help tremendously with preventing mould, so compare energy deals to see if there might be a suitable fixed tariff on offer that you could switch to.
- An FOI was sent to the Housing Ombudsman asking for a breakdown of complaints about mould/damp and leaks/flood in English local authorities by year for local authority and housing association-run properties. Data returned covered Financial Years 2018/19 to 2022/23 for mould damp and 2018/19 to 2021/22 for leaks/floods.
- To compare this to the number of properties, 2022 data from the Regulator of Social Housing was taken on the number of LARP (local authority-run) and PRP (privately-run, including housing association) properties to provide an estimate of the number of complaints per property.
- Data on % of properties with damp/mould was taken from the English Housing Survey.
- 2004 adults in the UK were also surveyed on their experiences and opinions on mould between 06/11/2023 and 08/11/2023.