31 Jan 2023
Leeds City Council provides update on its actions to tackle mould and damp issues in council housing
Senior members of Leeds City Council's executive board will receive an update on its work to tackle mould and damp issues in council housing at a meeting held next week (Wednesday 8 February).
The report will set out how the council is responding to a Housing Ombudsman’s national report which was published in October 2021 which urged landlords to take a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to damp and mould. The report also considers further action following the recent tragic case of Awaab Ishak, who died due to prolonged exposure to excessive mould growth in his Rochdale home.
The report will provide assurance that robust measures are in place to deal with the issue in Leeds ensuring that the safety of residents is appropriately prioritised. These include actions that have seen the provision of refresher training to frontline staff to make sure they are meeting service standards; the establishment of a specialised Damp & Mould team that tenants can contact directly; improving the council's channels for reporting issues; introducing a new process which tracks any further works needed after a job has been attended; and ensuring that tenants are equipped with information about prevention.
The report confirms that at the end of December 2022, no homes in the management of Housing Leeds contained Category 1 damp and mould. A number of properties (3.41% of stock) have been identified as containing Category 2 damp and mould, and in all cases, work is either now complete or is ongoing to ensure the symptom and the root cause is accurately diagnosed and resolved at the earliest opportunity.
There is also a focus on supporting tenants in fuel poverty, who are unable to heat their homes adequately due to the financial crisis. This winter, the council will distribute £100,000 of free energy vouchers to tenants with pre-payment meters, through its work with the British Gas Energy Trust.
Effective heating, ventilation and insulation are key components to the prevention of damp and mould within homes and there are a number of capital investment projects ongoing to improve council homes. More information on this can be found here Hundreds of Leeds households benefitting from cheaper bills this winter, thanks to council green scheme.
Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for environment and housing, said:
“We are absolutely committed to ensuring that residents living in council housing are safe and healthy and ensuring that homes are free from damp and mould is key to this. This report provides assurance to tenants that everything that can be done is being done to tackle these issues and the introduction of a Mould & Damp team now makes it much easier for tenants to report issues. We are urging residents to be vigilant when it comes to mould and damp issues by reporting them as early as possible, wiping down condensation on windows and other surfaces and keeping homes ventilated where possible. Since 2019 we have invested over £85m on improvement schemes that have included heating, ventilation, insulation and drainage improvement works.”
Information on mould prevention can be found the Shelter website Damp and mould in rented homes - Shelter England
A copy of the full executive board can be found at: Council and democracy (leeds.gov.uk)
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Leeds City Council