Council adopts new zero tolerance policy against damp and mould following 338% increase in complaints

A committee heard a new damp and mould policy has been developed following a jump in reported cases since the tragic death of a child and the cost of living crisis.
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The Housing Ombudsman published a spotlight report “It’s not lifestyle” in October 2021 in response to an increasing number of damp and mould complaints.

In November 2022, the Housing Ombudsman wrote to housing providers to bring a renewed focus on the recommendations contained within the report following the tragic death of Awaab Ishak in Rochdale.

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Members of the Rotherham Council’s Improving Places Select Committee were today told that a Draft Damp, Mould and Condensation Policy has been created in response to the recommendations of the Housing Ombudsman.

Rotherham Town Hall.Rotherham Town Hall.
Rotherham Town Hall.

Rotherham Council has introduced and committed to a zero tolerance policy approach to dampness and mould, the committee heard.

Among the proposal, is the expectation that the service will “arrange appointments to visit 100% of all damp, mould and condensation requests, prioritising those where the tenant or family member has been identified as being at increased risk.”

Also, following a report of damp and/or mould, officers will have to “attend and investigate within 10 working days to determine the cause of damp, mould and condensation through a robust and extensive internal and external inspection of the property and, if appropriate, neighbouring properties.”

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It follows a report that found a 338 per cent increase in complaints – comparing 128 reports in January 2022 to 432 reports in January, this year.

According to a supporting document, the council has invested £8.8m to improve ventilation, insulation and thermal efficiency in properties in the last five years – also, it was added that there is a total budget in place for dealing with damp and mould issues in council homes of £1.072m in 2023/24.

This is a 109 per cent funding increase compared with the 2021/22 outturn and a 21 per cent increase compared with the 2022/23 outturn.

If your landlord has failed to deal with your report of dampness and mould in your home you should report the issue to the Environmental Health team who can be contacted on 01709 823118, by email [email protected] or through the council’s website

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If your landlord is a housing association, they will have their own complaints procedure and you have the option of seeking a referral to the Ombudsman if you feel your complaint has not been handled appropriately.

Council tenants should report the issue via email [email protected] or telephone 01709 336009.