Advocating for Safer Housing Through Awaab’s Law   

The debilitating effects of housing disrepair on a person’s health has been brought to the forefront of public perception following the tragic death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak, which came as a direct result of mould exposure and landlord neglect. In response to this, we recently participated in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities consultation on Awaab’s Law, focused on enforcing timely repairs in social housing.  

We stressed the urgent necessity for these legal reforms, highlighting the stark disparities in legal aid that have left tenants vulnerable and unable to challenge disrepair effectively. This law is poised to significantly change the landscape by embedding requirements directly into social housing tenancy agreements, enabling tenants to hold non-compliant landlords accountable through legal action; aiming to ensure that what happened to the Ishak family would not occur again.  

The drastic reduction in legal aid for disrepair cases since the enactment of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act in 2012 underscores the importance of these changes. Research done by the Law Society reveal a 70.53% decrease in spending for standalone disrepair cases from 2012-2022, stripping tenants of the means to pursue justice. Our submission advocates for a comprehensive approach to legal aid, ensuring tenants can enforce their rights and achieve the living conditions they rightfully deserve. 

Awaab’s Law has proposed a fourteen-day response period to hazard reports, and immediate action in the case of emergencies. While this marks a significant improvement, we emphasise the necessity for these protections to expand beyond social housing to all accommodation types, including temporary housing and asylum seeker accommodations, which remain unprotected despite clear risks. 

Our involvement in the Awaab’s Law consultation highlights the critical need for legal reforms to protect tenant rights and health. We call on the government to extend the scope of these protections, ensuring all tenants have access to safe, hazard-free housing. Through our response, we advocate for tenant rights and contribute to the push for a culture of accountability and care within the housing sector. 

If you are affected by housing disrepair and need advice, please contact South West London Law Centres by completing our advice checker.  If you would like to know more about our work within the community, please contact us at