Awaab’s Law: How Social Housing Providers Can Comply

This article covers everything you need to know about Awaab’s Law. We explain what it is, when it could be introduced and how housing providers can comply.

Published 24 April 2024

Author EVO

Awaab’s Law would require social housing providers to deal with emergency repairs and hazards within certain timeframes. 

This is a major change for the social housing sector and is likely to prove challenging for some landlords. 

This article covers everything you need to know about Awaab’s Law. We explain what it is, when it could be introduced and how social housing providers can comply.


  • Awaab’s Law is named after two-year-old Awaab Ishak, who died from a respiratory illness caused by damp and mould in his family’s social housing flat.

  • The law requires social housing landlords to carry out emergency repairs in their rental properties within 24 hours.

  • Other hazards must be investigated within two weeks of being reported. 

  • Repairs must be carried out within three weeks of the issue being reported.

  • Hazards are outlined in the Housing Health and Safety Ratings System (HHSRS).

  • Social housing residents can take their landlord to court if they fail to comply with Awaab’s Law.

  • Outsourcing all property repairs to an end-to-end digital system like EVO can help Social housing landlords comply with Awaab’s law.

Why Was Awaab’s Law Introduced?

In December 2020, two-year-old Awaab Ishak died from a respiratory illness caused by damp and mould in his family’s social housing flat.

The family had contacted their landlord on several occasions to report conditions in the flat. 

However, the landlord failed to act. An inquest concluded in November 2022 found that the landlord was responsible for Awaab’s death.

The tragedy led the government to amend the Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 to prevent similar deaths. The new amendment was named “Awaab’s Law”

What Are Landlords’ Responsibilities under Awaab’s Law?

The amendment is expected to be brought into force during 2024. When this happens, all social housing providers would need to include a clause in their tenancy agreements stating that they will comply with it. 

The law requires that social housing landlords must:

🛠️ Investigate and fix hazards within two weeks of being made aware of them.

🛠️ Fix hazards that pose a significant risk to a resident’s health or safety within 7 days

🛠️ Make emergency repairs within 24 hours.

Social housing landlords must also:

🛠️ Summarise their findings to the resident within 14 calendar days of the health and safety hazard being reported, and explain what they intend to do about it. 

🛠️ Complete repairs to a satisfactory level, within a reasonable time period that suits the resident.

🛠️ Provide alternative accommodation if there is an imminent risk of harm or danger, and the property cannot be made safe within the specified timescales.

🛠️ Keep records of all attempts to comply with Awaab’s Law. 

What counts as a hazard?

These hazards are defined under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).

The categories include:

  • Damp and mould growth

  • Excess cold (below 16 degrees Celsius) 

  • Excess heat (above 25 degrees Celsius)

  • Asbestos and MMF (man-made fibres)

  • Biocides

  • Carbon monoxide and fuel combustion products

  • Lead

  • Radiation

  • Uncombusted fuel gas

  • Volatile organic compounds

  • Crowding and space

  • Entry by intruders

  • Lighting

  • Noise

  • Domestic hygiene, pests and refuse

  • Food safety

  • Personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage

  • Water supply

  • Falls associated with baths, etc.

  • Falling on level surfaces, etc.

  • Falling on stairs, etc.

  • Falling between levels

  • Electrical hazards

  • Fire

  • Flames, hot surfaces, etc.

  • Collision and entrapment

  • Explosions

  • Position and operability of amenities, etc.

  • Structural collapse and falling elements

The level of threat posed by these hazards depends on the impact they might have on the resident. 

For example, older residents are more susceptible to bathroom falls. This kind of hazard is also more likely to cause them long-term injury or leave them with a disability. 

Fixing hazards relating to bathrooms will likely be a higher priority where the resident is older.

What guidance is there for landlords?

In November 2022, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove wrote to social housing landlords about Awaab’s Law. 

The letter included the following guidance:

💡 All homes must meet the Decent Homes Standard.

💡 You must be aware which of your properties don’t meet this standard.

💡 You must undertake rapid remedial works where required.

In November 2022, the Housing Ombudsman wrote to social housing landlords specifically about the dangers of damp and mould. It said that they should:

💡 Take a zero-tolerance approach to damp and mould issues.

💡 Have dedicated policies to enable decision-making over damp and mould issues.

💡 Avoid blaming damp and mould issues on residents - for example, by saying they are a result of “lifestyle issues”.


💡 What are lifestyle issues?

Some social housing providers (and landlords more generally) blame damp and mould in their properties on the resident’s lifestyle choices. 

This usually covers everyday activities that create moisture in the air. Examples include:

💡 Cooking

💡 Drying clothes

💡 Taking baths and showers

These are common activities that everyone should be able to do safely in their home.

These activities create condensation, which can create mould. However, properties should be fitted with adequate ventilation to deal with this - which is the landlord’s responsibility. 

Furthermore, these activities do not create damp, which is caused by issues relating to the building fabric - once again, fixing this is the landlord’s responsibility.   

What happens if landlords don’t follow Awaab’s Law?

If social housing landlords fail to comply with Awaab’s Law then the affected resident can:

⚠️ Take them to court for breach of contract and claim compensation.

⚠️ Escalate a complaint to the Housing Ombudsman. 

Additionally, the government plans to introduce new enforcement powers. This would give the Regulator of Social Housing the ability to issue unlimited fines or enter a property with 48 hours' notice to make emergency repairs.

What stage is Awaab’s Law at?

At the time of writing, Awaab’s Law has not been brought into force. The government held a public consultation to seek people’s views on the proposals. 

This public consultation has now closed, although the government is still gathering feedback from resident panels and other stakeholders. 

It will then be debated and voted on in Parliament. However, it seems likely to be approved, as there is little or no opposition.

As mentioned earlier, it is likely to become law sometime during 2024.

What Impact Would Awaab’s Law Have on Landlords?

Awaab’s Law means landlords must make repairs within at least three weeks of an issue being reported.

Many social landlords already meet this target. However, a study by Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors found that 36% of all social housing tenants had to wait over six months for a repair to be carried out.  

Many housing providers failing to meet the three-week target are likely struggling with stretched resources and limited budgets. Others will have long repair backlogs left over from the pandemic.

Their systems for handling repairs and maintenance are also likely outdated. For example, many social housing providers communicate with residents, employees, and tradespeople using email, letters, and phone calls. 

Traditional communication channels like these are often slow - for example, an email may not be read for a number of days. And repairs reported to call centres may take significant time to be passed on to the correct departments.

No responsible landlord wants to leave residents with outstanding repairs for longer than necessary. We welcome Awaab's Law, but meeting its targets will require organisational and cultural change that some landlords will find challenging. 

The example in the next section helps explain why.

Example: High demand for boiler engineers

Each year in early winter, there is a high demand for boiler repairs. This is because people switch on their heating for the first time and discover their boiler has a fault. 

Not having functioning heating could be life-threatening for vulnerable residents, and it requires emergency repair within 24 hours. So it’s conceivable that a landlord would face a spike in demand for boiler engineers. 

To meet the demands of this situation, a social housing landlord would need:

✔️ A fast way for residents to report problems and for relevant tradespeople to be assigned.

✔️ Multiple contractors available to perform emergency repairs.

✔️ Those contractors would need the information and resources to complete the job within one day.

✔️ They would also need a fast way to sign off work so they can quickly move to the next job.

Setting up a system like this is difficult and expensive. For example, how can you ensure contractors won’t be busy with other customers? You could employ your own dedicated boiler engineers, but that would inevitably be expensive, especially during busy periods. 

Luckily there is a solution: digital tools. 

How Digital Tools Can Help

Digital tools enable social housing providers to comply with Awaab’s Law and provide a great tenant experience.

The main benefits of digital tools are:

💬 Communication: Residents, landlords and tradespeople can communicate instantaneously, allowing contractors to receive emergency jobs immediately and provide the quickest possible response.

🤖 Automation: Repairs are automatically assigned - no more phoning around to find an available tradesperson.

📊 Access to data: The right people can access the data and information they need to complete the repair efficiently.

At EVO, we’ve long understood that these three benefits could help transform the quality of UK social housing and the tenant experience.

That’s why we developed an end-to-end digital platform to which landlords can outsource their repairs and maintenance. 

Perform rapid emergency repairs with EVO

We’ve been providing our clients with a 24-hour emergency repair service for many years now, with great success.

Here’s how it works:

✅ Easily request emergency repairs

We provide residents with a mobile phone app to manage their repairs and maintenance requests.

It includes a dedicated button to report emergencies. 

Reporting a repair takes about 30 seconds, and it’s much quicker than being stuck on the phone. 

The resident is then informed about who is coming and when, and notified about the repair’s progress.

✅ Automated job booking

EVO has a dedicated 24/7 emergency network. Someone will be immediately dispatched to deal with the issue. 

✅ Video triage

While the resident is waiting, we offer video triage call. This enables us to gain more information about the problem so we can solve it first time. We may also be able to help the resident solve the issue themself.

✅ Access to property data

We provide all the information a contractor needs to prepare and complete the repair first time. 

Examples of the information provided include:

  • Property service history allows recurring problems to be identified.

  • Details on the property’s utilities to help tradespeople bring the right parts or tools.

  • Simple, practical information that avoids wasted time - for example, explaining where the stopcock is or where to park.

✅ 12-month EVO guarantee

All repairs made by EVO are guaranteed for 12 months, so you can be confident that the repairs we make will last.

✅ Avoid damp and mould 

EVO provides Internet of things (IoT) devices that enable social landlords to detect moisture levels in homes. 

Information from these detectors is automatically collected and analysed. This helps landlords to identify properties suffering from or at risk of condensation, damp and mould. 

They can then take proactive action to deal with the issue before the symptoms hit. This is far better than waiting for your residents to experience problems.

✅ Collect and analyse repairs and maintenance data

EVO enables you to collect data from across your repairs and maintenance operations. This allows you to identify trends, which in turn helps you plan budgets and resources more effectively.

For example, a large data sample might show that a certain component tends to fail after a certain time period. This information allows you to carry out planned preventive maintenance or replace it before that happens.

EVO: Helping You Comply with Awaab’s Law

Awaab’s Law will help ensure that other families don’t suffer the loss of a loved one due to poor-quality housing. It is critical to improving the quality of residents' homes and lives. 

Implementing the law will be challenging for many struggling housing associations. 

However, digital tools like EVO can help landlords efficiently deal with emergency repairs, hazards as well as damp and mould.

EVO ensures that your entire repairs and maintenance operation runs smoothly - meaning happy residents and less work for you.

Contact us today to discover how EVO can help your organisation comply with Awaab’s Law.


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