Decision details

Decision details


Decision Maker: Partnerships Scrutiny Committee

Decision status: For Determination


The Head of Planning, Public Protection and Countryside Services gave a brief background on Mould and Condensation in Housing Association (RSL) Housing Stock and Private Rented Sector Properties. He began by explaining that it was very much team effort, working closely across many services.


The report was based on the management of mould and condensation in properties owned and managed by registered social landlords and in the private rented sector. The report followed on from a recent report regarding the same issue within Council housing stock.


There were two main aspects to the report as follows:

1.    To provide an update on the situation in the Private Rented Sector.

2.    To provide an update on the positive actions that had been taken by Registered Social Landlords to address and respond to the current situation.

It was explained that the RSLs were responsible to their own Boards and to Welsh Government in relation to the management of the standards of their own properties.


The Public Protection, Regeneration and Economic Development Manager (PPREDM) guided Members through the elements of the report relating to the private rented sector and the work that was ongoing via the Council’s Public Protection Team and Housing Enforcement Officers. The housing enforcement legislation was set out in the Housing Act 2004. Any enforcement that was taken, was enforced under the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). The process set out in the guidelines allowed time for landlords to take action before any enforcement was taken.


Enforcement action figures over the last 4 years (previously circulated) had gradually reduced with the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard and the Renting Homes Wales Act potentially being contributing factors.


In conjunction with the commencement of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 earlier in 2023, the Housing Enforcement Team had made a change to the complaint investigation process to ensure that the landlord was made aware of any complaint by their tenants, in order to give them the opportunity to address the disrepair issues before formally involving the Council’s Housing Enforcement Team. If after 21 days the problem still existed, or significant progress had not been made, then Housing Enforcement would arrange to carry out an inspection. The new process applied to all complaints received except for emergencies which were prioritised and inspected as soon as practicable.


The PPREDM continued to explain that in respect of RSLs very few complaints had been received. Where such complaints were received, Housing Enforcement would advise the tenant in the first instance to contact their housing provider so that their landlord had the opportunity to address their concerns directly. To date no cases with RSLs had required any further escalation or involvement.


The Strategic Planning and Housing Manager explained the second aspect of the report relating to the positive actions that had been taken by RSLs. Two out of the six local RSLs had provided the Council with a copy of their response to Welsh Government to reassure the Committee that, as responsible landlords they had responded to the issue. A brief summary of their response was given as follows: -


·       All reports of damp, mould and condensation were recorded, inspected and the case load monitored by a senior officer with reports to senior leadership teams and boards of management.

·       Clear processes were in place to manage all reports from households to ensure prompt action was taken.

·       The most at risk households and properties had been targeted for intervention and support.

·       All frontline staff had received training and awareness to be able to identify and report any issues with mould and condensation.

·       Partnerships to deliver advice to households on energy efficiency and household finances were in place.

·       There was significant investment and innovation in homes to improve energy efficiency measures.

The Chair thanked the officers for their report and Members were invited to ask questions.


Members questioned the level of support that tenants in private rented accommodation received and if this was similar to tenants in RSLs. Officers clarified that if a tenant of a private rented property had an issue, then they would be directed to inform their landlord in the first instance. If the landlord was uncompliant, then this would be when Housing Enforcement would become involved to address the issues raised. Generally, the same protection was given to tenants in Council-owned homes, RSLs and the Private Rented Sector under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act.


Members queried the data in the report (previously circulated) noting a significant increase in the number of premises inspections carried out where hazards were identified, and enforcement action was taken from 2021/2022- 2022-2023. Officers stated that there could be a number of contributing factors namely coming out of the Covid Pandemic and also that different seasons within the year presented different issues within the housing sector, for example it could have been a damp, wet year which could contribute to a higher number of complaints being received.


Members questioned how no-fault evictions would affect the data collected. Officers stated that the team were regular speaking with tenants and landlords encouraging them to access information and support. The Rented Homes (Wales) Act was aimed at tackling the issue and was helping to prevent homelessness. Officers did not see this being an issue going forward. If in the unlikely event a no-fault eviction was to occur there were legal routes to take to support those affected.


Members highlighted the importance that is being put on insulating homes and whether this was helpful in addressing the mould and condensation issue. Officers stated that each property was different however, there was a need to improve the energy efficiency performance of properties as this would make the heating of a property cheaper for tenants. Managing humidity and ventilation within a property was also important in reducing and eradicating mould and condensation.


The Chair thanked the officers for their report.


At the conclusion of the discussion the Committee:


Resolved:  subject to the above observations and the reassurances given


(i)             to confirm that it had read and understood the report; and

(ii)           request that the Welsh Government’s findings following its review of social landlords in Wales’ response to incidents of mould and condensation in their housing stock be circulated to Committee members for information upon the report’s publication.



Publication date: 18/05/2023

Date of decision: 18/05/2023

Decided at meeting: 18/05/2023 - Partnerships Scrutiny Committee

Accompanying Documents: