UK Government Committee Speaks Up For The Health Of Private Renters

exterior view of two story rowhouses with brick cladding
Homes - fundamental to health.

The UK government’s Health and Social Care Committee recommends that the safety standards that apply to social rent housing should also apply in private rental accommodation. The recommendation comes from evidence that the number of children admitted to hospital with lung illnesses is rising1 and that mould is 18 times more prevalent in private rental accommodation than it is in social rented homes.

The BBC highlighted the Health and Social Care Committee’s concerns about mould in private rental homes here: MPs call for Awaab’s law to cover mouldy homes in private sector

Although there have been calls to clean up mould in the private rental sector housing, this call is different. It comes from a committee that operates within the official government structure for investigating how government works. As well, it is charged with making recommendations for changes.

The Committee’s report talks about far more than mould and its effects on health. The following statement in the report’s introduction expresses an ongoing frustration with poor quality housing. The consequences show up again and again in the country’s health system:

“The evidence base on the importance of place in protecting good health is stronger than it has ever been…. [W]e have known about the relationship between health and place for decades, if not longer. It is frustrating that more progress has not been made already. A determined focus on developing ‘healthy places’ that can prevent ill-health amongst those most at risk is now vital in easing pressures on the NHS, and building a sustainable service for generations to come.”

Unlike reports from community agencies, the government is required to respond to the Health and Social Care Committee’s report. The deadline is March 19, 2024.

The report of Health and Social Care Committee is posted by UK Parliament: Prevention in health and social care: healthy places



  1. See this commentary on the issue in The Guardian: Thousands Of Babies And Toddlers Falling Sick From Damp Homes In Britain, NHS Doctor Warns