A child’s health and education can suffer if they do not have a safe and warm home.
No one wants to live in a damp, mouldy or cold home. You can ask the council for help if your landlord won’t deal with repairs or bad conditions in your home.
Children living in a damp home are up to 3 times more likely to have breathing problems. The most common cause of damp is condensation. Condensation happens when water in the air comes into contact with a cold surface e.g. wall or window.
Sometimes damp/mould happens when a house needs repairs e.g. a leaking pipe. First try to find out what is causing the damp and fix the problem. You may need advice from a damp specialist or a builder.
Tips to reduce damp in your home:
Damp can cause mould to grow on the walls. Mould is a type of fungus. Mould produces spores which your child can breathe in. This may worsen asthma.
Tips for treating mould in your home:
What to do about damp and mould if you rent
Tell your landlord if you have damp especially if it is affecting your child’s health.
Further information and support:
Advice on condensation, damp and mould from the centre for sustainable energy.
Shelter provide advice on damp in rented homes and what to do if it is affecting your health.
You may also be able to get a housing assessment from your local council. You can find contact information in the Local Support and Contact Details section below.
Asthma UK also provide advice about mould and damp.
Children living in cold homes are twice as likely to have breathing problems such as asthma.
Some families need to make hard decisions about whether to buy things like food or use that money to heat their home.
Visit our page on keeping your home warm.
Problems with your home can sometimes lead to pests e.g. ants, rats, mites and bedbugs.
It isn’t always clear who is responsible for dealing with pests. Your landlord will probably be responsible if the problem has happened because repairs are needed, for example fixing holes in the wall.
You might be responsible for dealing with the problem if it was caused by something you did, for example not disposing of rubbish properly.
Tips for avoiding rats:
Check if your local council provides a pest control service. Those that don’t should still be able to provide you with some advice. You can find contact information for your local council in the Local Support section below.
Citizens advice on pests and vermin
Shelter provide information about who is responsible for dealing with an infestation in your rented home and what you can do about it.
The National Pest Technicians Association and the British Pest Control Association can provide details of local pest control services.
Shelter provides advice on housing, including problems with repairs.
The home is the most common place for young children to get injured. Children who live in rented, older or overcrowded homes are at higher risk of injury.
Everybody should have a safe place to live. It is a basic human right. However, we know that there are thousands of children across the UK who do not have this. You don’t have to be living on the street to be considered homeless. Some families live in temporary accommodation, with friends or sofa surf whilst others live in fear of losing their home.
If you are homeless or at risk of homelessness:
If the council agrees that you are eligible then it must offer you accommodation. This is likely to be temporary accommodation. If you turn down an offer of temporary accommodation, the council may refuse to offer you anything else. In general it is best to accept it and challenge it later, unless you are at risk of harm there.
Where can I get help?
If you are in immediate danger, dial 999 and speak to the police.
Childline - if you are a child in need of help, call for free on 0800 1111.
Centrepoint - Advice and support for young people in England aged 16-25. Call free on 0808 800 0661 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm).
Shelter - Support and advice if you are homeless, have nowhere to stay tonight, are worried about losing your home in the next 2 months or are at risk of harm. Call free on 0808 800 4444 (Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm and Saturday-Sunday 9am-5pm).
Citizens Advice - Get advice about housing, your homeless application and how to challenge the council’s homeless decision. Call the national advice line on 0800 144 8848.
Duty to refer
Some organisations such as hospitals and social workers have a duty to refer anyone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless within the next 56 days.
Click here for local information about housing support