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Last updated: 19th April 2024

As of 20th July 2023, the much-anticipated Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 (the Act) has now received Royal Assent and become law, paving the way for the most significant social housing reforms in over a decade. The Act brings positive change and transformation within the social housing sector by strengthening tenants’ rights and ensuring they live in safe, good quality homes devoid of health risks posed by building hazards.  

Awaab’s Law plays a crucial role in the biggest government reforms affecting social housing in a decade. Since 2010, the quality of social housing has been consistently improving, with a reduction in the proportion of non-decent social rented homes from 20% in 2010 to 10% in 2021. The government’s Levelling Up White Paper pledged to reduce non-decency in rented homes by 50% by 2030. Awaab’s Law will help to achieve this goal by ensuring landlords are taking action on hazards within specified timeframes.

The Act emerged from the Social Housing Green Paper, as a direct result of the Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017. It makes provision for increased regulator intervention, including powers to issue uncapped fines to landlords; and ‘performance improvement plan notices’ if landlords fail to meet repair standards. It also paves the way for the introduction of Awaab’s Law.   

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Find out  how you should be adapting to the Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 and Awaab's Law with our free 'Landlord's Guide to Damp, Mould, and Condensation'.

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What is Awaab’s Law?  

Section 42 of the Act will amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to require the government to make regulations which will require hazards in social housing to be remedied; this has become known as Awaab’s Law. This amendment to housing law was proposed in honour of the tragic death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak in December 2020. Awaab suffered respiratory issues caused by prolonged exposure to black mould in his home. The family reported the mould as a severe health risk to their social housing provider who failed to deal with the issues and root cause of the mould, and they and campaigners highlighted the injustice that social housing tenants can face and the necessity for legal provisions to be implemented.  

In 2023, the Awaab's Law petition gained over 177,000 signatures to make the law a reality, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, announced the government’s intention to implement the legislation at the beginning of 2024. This landmark law will be the most significant change to how the sector operates in the past decade, as the first piece of legislation to introduce timescales that hazards must be addressed within and is an important step towards protecting tenants and preventing other tragedies from happening in the future.

Awaab's Law Timescales

Awaab’s Law will require social housing landlords to follow strict timescales to inspect and repair hazards, including damp and mould. Awaab’s family’s suggested timeframe was 14 days to investigate a reported damp and mould hazard and a further seven days to carry out urgent repairs.

On 9th January 2024, Michael Gove, announced new plans to launch an Awaab's Law consultation to confirm these new strict timescales using views across the sector to ensure social housing providers take swift action in addressing dangerous hazards such as damp and mould. The proposed legal requirements for social landlords will mean they must investigate hazards within 14 days, start fixing within a further seven days, and make emergency repairs in 24 hours. The consultation closed on 5th March, with the government expected to publish updates on the timescales in the coming months and bring Awaab’s Law into force as soon as practically possible.  Discover the full government guidance update here. 

The timescales laid out in the consultation apply to the initial investigation of potential hazards, meaning it's the landlord's responsibility to undertake an investigation within 14 calendar days (not working days) to identify whether there's a hazard present. Landlords must then provide a written summary of their investigation to tenants, which must be issued within 48 hours of conducting the investigation. The summary should include:

  • When the investigation was conducted.
  • Who carried out the investigation, including job titles. 
  • If any follow-up works will be carried out, including what they will be.
  • Timeframes of when the hazard will be addressed.

Following the issuing of the report, landlords will have seven calendar days to begin the works on-site to address the hazards investigated. This means that there's a 21-day priority to investigate, inspect, send a summary, and begin the work.

Awaab's Law consultation

In addition to the consultation outlining the timescales imposed under Awaab's Law, it also highlights additional new guidelines and provides an idea of where landlords should focus their attention to prepare for its implementation. These include: 

  • The threshold to decant tenants (move to alternative accommodation) from a property is lower than typically seen in the sector. This means if you fail to address a hazard within the timeframe, you will have to decant the tenant. 
  • Maintaining adequate record-keeping throughout the repair work.
  • Showing reasonable steps at three access attempts to get into a property.

Awaab's Law and the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

The inclusion of Awaab’s Law within the Act places a spotlight on the severity of damp and mould as a hazard in social housing and highlights the government’s commitment to taking tenants’ health and safety seriously. This reinforces the obligations placed on all landlords in the Housing Act 2004 to ensure properties are free from serious hazards, as assessed through the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).  

The government is proposing that Awaab's Law will introduce timescales across all 29 HHSRS hazards. The HHSRS operates by evaluating the potential risk of harm to an actual or potential occupier, is based on the risk to a particular age group over another, and is a means of rating the danger posed by a health and safety hazard.

Key Considerations


Awaab’s Law 

Your assessment is based on a member of the vulnerable group for each hazard in the property for the next 12 months, not the current tenants. 

A health and safety issue does not need to be a HHSRS category 1 hazard to apply to Awaab’s Law. Even if your HHSRS assessment identifies a hazard as category 2, it can still apply to Awaab's Law. 

 Your assessment must take into consideration the current tenants at that moment in time. 


To discover everything you need to know about the HHSRS, watch our on-demand webinar, 'Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) 101'. Gain expert insight on how Awaab's Law has impacted the HHSRS and best practices for addressing hazards within your buildings. 

What does Awaab’s Law mean for Social Housing landlords?  

Awaab’s Law will form part of the social housing tenancy agreement, meaning tenants will be able to hold their landlord to account if they fail to comply. Failure to adhere to the required timescales would make the landlord liable for breach of tenancy, resulting in fines or legal action, in addition to being responsible for putting their tenant’s safety at risk. The Act also makes provision for requiring the landlord to provide safe alternative accommodation for the tenant, at no cost to them 

Understanding your tenants’ rights regarding damp and mould is vital for ensuring a safe living environment. For more information about what your tenants' rights are, read our dedicated blog here. 

 The Housing Ombudsman published a special report into the social housing provider of Awaab’s family, commenting that the “weakness in policies, repeated failures and failure to learn from complaints has led us to conclude there was wider service failure by the landlord in areas other than its response to damp and mould, including record keeping and communication.” The Act will strengthen the Ombudsman’s powers from September, and this will place the Complaint Handling Code of Practice on a statutory footing and require the Ombudsman to monitor landlords’ compliance with it 

Hazards, including damp and mould, must be repaired and monitored to ensure they have been eradicated from the property and the root cause addressed. It is important to note that while urgent repairs must be completed within the specified timeframe, given the recurring nature of damp and mould, it is important for landlords to return to the property in the following months to ensure the root cause remediation was effective. The underlying cause of damp and mould could also be linked to the building construction; therefore, to conduct a thorough investigation and treatment of the mould, the property may need further investigation and monitoring.   

Your next steps

  • Assess your capacity to meet the timescales proposed.
  • Review  whether your organisation’s record keeping is adequate.
  • Assess whether your organisation has sufficiently skilled members of staff that can appropriately deal with repairs and decants where required.
  • Review  your organisation's decant capacity and process.
  • Review any access process.
  • Review training for all staff.
  • Review out of hours (weekend) repairs capacity, as the timescales proposed are calendar days, not working days.

Ultimately, Awaab’s Law has been introduced to hold landlords legally accountable for making repairs within strict deadlines, as well as proving the importance of tenants’ health and safety. Awaab’s Law represents a pivotal moment in the social housing sector – it will help ensure that tenants’ homes are safe and fit to live in, and most importantly, it may save lives.     


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