Agenda item

To receive the following Question from:



Councillor Tim Thomas to the Cabinet Member – Future Generations


Will the Cabinet Member make a statement on whether they are satisfied that socially rented homes in the County Borough are, as far as possible, safe, and free from detriments that can cause negative health outcomes?




Councillor Tim Thomas to the Cabinet Member – Wellbeing and Future Generations:


Will the Cabinet Member make a statement on whether they are satisfied that socially rented homes in the County Borough are, as far as possible, safe, and free from detriments that can cause negative health outcomes?




The Minister for Climate Change wrote to all social landlords on 15th December 2022 following the tragic death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak, who died from a respiratory condition caused by exposure to mould. This letter outlined the action required of social landlords in Wales to ensure that measures are in place to specifically identify and address reported issues with damp and mould. This includes reference to investigations and inspections, dealing with condensation and its causes, rectifying any defects as promptly as possible and supporting tenants with help and advice.  Welsh Government has requested information and assurances that landlords are responding to these issues be provided to them by the 20th January.


As Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations I am fully supportive of the steps being taken by Welsh Government in re-enforcing to social landlords their responsibilities. I too have recently sought reassurances from local Registered Social Landlord’s (RSL’s) that they are taking steps to ensure that their accommodation is safe. I will continue to seek reassurances that this is the case from our RSL partners in Bridgend, and that any necessary actions highlighted through the review are followed through.


There is a framework of policies, processes and law that sets out the standards expected from homes, not only within the social rented sector, but also in relation to private rented sector in general.


The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 took effect on the 1st December 2022. This changes the way that landlords rent their properties and applies to landlords and letting/managing agents.  The Act brings increased rights for tenants and a key element of this legislation is that all properties must be safe. This Act introduced a requirement to ensure that homes are Fit for Human Habitation (FFHH).  This includes a requirement for electrical safety testing and ensuring that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted in properties.


In addition, Rent Smart Wales, a licensing and registration system supports those who let or manage properties and provides advice on the requirements and obligations to ensure that landlords comply with health and safety requirement for the private sector. 


The Welsh Quality Housing Standards (WQHS)  is in place for all new social housing developments and ensures that properties are in a good state of repair, safe and secure, and adequately heated.  The WQHS 2023 is currently being updated to drive up standards on decarbonisation ambitions and include energy saving elements for tenants. Developments funded through the Social Housing Grant (SHG) – a WG grant - must comply with these standards.   This grant supports the planned development programme to increase the supply of accommodation by Registered Social Landlords (RSL’s).   The housing service works closely with Welsh Government and local RSL’s to deliver new housing through a 3 year programme.  Although the outcomes at this stage are estimates, the programme is scheduled to deliver 536 homes over a 3 year period with a grant funding level estimated to be in the region of £41million.


We are also able to take action in the form of enforcement. Information from the Shared Regulatory Service shows that they received 46 complaints from tenants of Social Landlords in 2022 under the following categories :–


           Disrepair = 15

           Damp and Disrepair = 15

           Damp and Mould = 12

           Rats, Damp and Disrepair = 1

           Rats and Disrepair = 3


Their first action to complaints from tenants of RSLs would be to contact the RSL for information and request that they look into the complaint and take remedial action where appropriate. They do not routinely inspect as a result of a complaint but where there is a lack of progress they will do so and issue both informal and formal notices if this is deemed to be required.


Supplementary question from Councillor Thomas


I am glad the Cabinet Member for Future Generations has noted mould and dampness. I am concerned with several referrals in relation to asbestos. Can he outline any conversations he has had with the mapping and safe maintenance of incidents of asbestos that are of a concern.




I have been reassured by Valleys to Coast just this week that they are going to review their housing stock in properties where they may be asbestos, as a considerable number of their properties were constructed pre -1999 before the regulations regarding asbestos were introduced. If any works need to take place in properties where there is any asbestos, then this obviously has to be undertaken safely in accordance with relevant health and safety regulations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of residents. He assured the Member he would look into this further. Funding has also been given to, for example Registered Social Landlords (RSL’s) for VOIDS, so that these may also be brought back into usage.


Second supplementary question from Councillor Heidi Bennett


How is the Council working with RSL’s in order to address housing shortages in the County Borough?




We are working with both RSL’s and the likes of Welsh Government and are in year one of a three year plan to construct further housing accommodation across Bridgend. We have plans to construct 536 homes within the life of this plan, but of course, it does take some time to construct new build housing. There is funding for this plan (including grant funding) in the sum of £41m. The new builds will be strategically planned where dwellings will include smaller affordable housing, ie 1 and 2 bed properties as opposed to just larger housing accommodation and will take into account in terms of design and structure, access for residents with difficulties, including low level access for wheelchair users. This work would progress in conjunction with support from our RSL’s and BCBC’s Housing team, in order to progress developments in line with what has been planned.