Requests for help with damp and mould in homes ‘exceeds all expectations’

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The number of tenants asking Rotherham Council for help with damp and mould in their property has ‘exceeded all expectations’, said a housing boss.

Councillor Sarah Allen, RMBC’s cabinet member for housing, told a meeting yesterday (July 9) that “[the damp and mould service] has increased beyond all expectation”.

“You’ll probably all be aware of the sad circumstances of Awaab’s Law, that brought about a review of how authorities deal with damp and mould,” she said.

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“That’s resulted in 29 points of action that we’re now obliged to follow, least of those being the speed at which we deal with damp and mould referrals.

RMBC has seen an increase in complaints about damp and mouldRMBC has seen an increase in complaints about damp and mould
RMBC has seen an increase in complaints about damp and mould

“Given that we’ve gone from tens of referrals per year to hundreds of referrals per year, that’s clearly quite a burden on us, and a bit of pressure in delivering the timescales that we set for ourselves.

“We have significantly improved that service, and will continue to do so.”

Cllr Allen added that there are currently 7,200 people on the housing register for a council property.

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Awaab’s Law forces social landlords to fix damp and mould within strict time limits, named after named after Awaab Ishak, who tragically died in a social-rented home after health problems caused by excessive damp and mould in the property. The landlord had dismissed complaints from the tenants, suggesting that the problems were being caused by the tenant’s own use of the property.

Last year, RMBC implemented a zero-tolerance policy to damp and mould, and set a target for officers to visit all homes following a complaint, prioritising those with an increased risk.

Following a report of damp and/or mould, officers will attend and investigate within 10 working days.

It follows a 338 per cent increase in complaints – comparing 128 reports in January 2022 to 432 reports in January 2023.

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