Warwick district council housing tenants can have say on council's new damp and mould policy

A draft policy for council homes has been put together by Warwick District Council in line with government requirements with the next step being a consultation with residents.
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Warwick District Council housing tenants will be asked for feedback on a new policy to deal with damp and mould.

A draft policy for council homes has been put together in line with government requirements with the next step being a consultation with residents.

The creation of such policies across the country was sparked by the death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak in 2020 following exposure to damp and mould while living in social housing in Rochdale.

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One of the key elements of Warwick District Council’s approach will be to prevent those who report damp and mould from feeling blamed.

Its report read: “This means that the council will review, alongside our tenants and residents, our initial response to reports of damp and mould to ensure we do not automatically apportion blame or use language that leaves residents feeling blamed.”

The council aims to provide “dry, warm and healthy homes” while enhancing the “understanding of our housing stock in relation to damp and mould”, ensuring tenants have access to “comprehensive advice and guidance on managing and controlling damp and condensation”.

It also commits to undertaking “effective investigations” and “all reasonable remedial repair solutions and improvements to eradicate damp”, maximising available budgets to deal with problems and publicising potential solutions.

When adopted, the policy will be formally reviewed after one year.

Councillor Andrew Milton (Lib Dem, Kenilworth St John’s), chair of overview and scrutiny, the panel which aims to give constructive feedback on the work of the council, said it planned to start providing feedback once results begin to filter through six months in.

Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Alan Boad (Leamington Lillington) said: “The important thing is a fast response when it is reported. Once black mould starts spreading it can get into the structure so you need to be in there before that.

“It is interesting that it says – and I am not sure if this has come from government – this is not a lifestyle but some of it actually is.

“Black mould is certainly caused by damp and a lack of ventilation. We need to be looking at how we can ventilate without people having to spend a fortune on heating.

“It will be interesting to monitor in 12 months to see what we have actually done and how many we have resolved because it is not easy. At least we are having a go.”

Councillor James Kennedy (Green, Kenilworth Park Hill), the district’s portfolio holder for climate change, said: “Members may recall in the last council that I raised a question about this and I was pleased to see the council already had a policy on damp and mould.

“Clearly it needs to be reinforced and further developed so I am glad to see this coming through.

“If we can push forward to develop more effective insulation, heating and ventilation by addressing some of the climate issues and carbon emissions, we may be able to support work to combat damp and mould.

“I suggest we need to be taking that whole house approach to it and not just focus on single issues.”