Following the tragic death of Awaab Ishak in Rochdale as a result of damp and mould in his family home, I have written to all social housing providers in Lewisham East to seek assurances on what steps they are taking to tackle this issue in their properties.
You can read my letter below.
RE: Damp and mould in social housing in Lewisham
The death of Awaab Ishak in Rochdale was a tragedy and will rightly mean there is an even greater focus on the quality of social and private rented homes across the country. As a consequence of his death, I am writing to all social housing providers across my constituency. I am asking you to let me know the significant steps you are taking to combat damp and mould in the housing that you provide.
Awaab tragically died of complications arising from damp and mould in his social housing. This was entirely avoidable. This is a black family who are devastated and claim inequality arising from racism. They feel they have been treated unequally due to their ethnic background. In my constituency, I represent a diverse community and there are a great number of them in social rented homes. I am being contacted by constituents referring to Awaab’s case, terrified that their children’s health is in danger due to their ethnicity and poor housing conditions, arising from damp, rot, and mould. Cases like this are increasingly being brought to my attention.
I have no doubt that most responsible Social Housing Providers are already reviewing referrals of homes that have reported damp and mould. As well as reassessing their maintenance budgets and personnel to carry out the work. I was encouraged that one social housing group has been proactive in writing to me about this.
As the political representative for my constituents, I am writing to you in good faith to ask you to share with me the steps you have and will take to focus on all live cases of condensation, damp, and mould, as well as any new initiatives you are working on to tackling this problem. Like me, I am sure you do not want to hear of a child or adult who is severely unwell or even dies due to an ill health directly related to damp and mould. Therefore, I ask you to adopt a zero tolerance on this matter and to do everything under your authority to ensure there is no damp, mould or rot across your social housing stock.
Finally, I wish to let you know that I consider this matter with the utmost seriousness. If constituents tell me that they are dissatisfied with their housing provider’s response I will be actively suggesting, they contact both the Housing Ombudsman and the Regulator of Social Housing. As you will be aware, the latter’s organisation has objectives to ‘(a) to support the provision of social housing that is well-managed and of appropriate quality, (b) to ensure that actual or potential tenants of social housing have an appropriate degree of choice and protection’. The amount of damp, rot and mould found in Social Housing in Lewisham East would suggest that you are at risk of an adverse finding regarding these objectives.
No child’s health should be at risk due to living in a home with damp, rot, and mould in our present society.
I look forward to hearing from you and working together to remove damp and mould in Lewisham East.
Janet Daby MP
Member of Parliament for Lewisham East