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My Council House Smells Like A Sewer Because Of The Mould And Damp

SINGLE mum Sagal Ahmed-Farah and her five kids have throw half their furniture away and live out of bags as black mould has plagued their flat for four years.

Sagal, a carer, 43, has been battling with Camden Council for years to get them to fix her leaky roof, and says her flat smells like a sewer because of the “horrible” conditions.

She pays £704 a month on rent for the flat, which she says is “absolutely freezing”.

The problems first started back in March 2018, when Sagal first noticed a leak coming through the roof in the kitchen.

It progressively got worse throughout 2019 and 2020, with Sagal ringing the council constantly – sometimes as much as 50 times a year – to report the problem.

“Rain was coming in through holes in the roof throughout most of the flat, mainly in the kitchen, corridor, and living room,” she said.

“I called the council out 20 times because I was worried about water going into the mains and causing a fire,” she said.

Because of this, there is no lighting in some rooms – and they have to use a torch in the toilet and kitchen.

In September 2020, the family spent three weeks in a local hotel while the council finally started to fix the roof for leaks.

But shortly after the family moved back in, Sagal discovered drips coming through the roof once more.

Now the state of the flat is so bad that the family are living in a hotel while the council fix the issues.

But they have been told that it could be four months until they can move back in again once more.

Camden Council is trying to find temporary accommodation for the family – but all Sagal wants is her flat fixed.

(Source)

How Cost Of Living Crisis Impacts London’s Working Poor

From energy bills to food prices, low-paid workers are being hit the hardest by soaring costs.

The problems are particularly acute for those in poor social housing in London, where the cost of pretty-much everything is higher.

We’ve been to an estate made up of the working poor, where child poverty in the borough is twice the national average and with the help of the London Renters Union tenants are taking action.
(Source)

A London Council Was Recently Deemed The Worst Performing Landlord In The Country

Council launches damp and mould strategy after topping ombudsman’s worst performers list.

The plan drawn up by Hammersmith & Fulham Council aims to tackle damp and mould issues across its stock through a series of targeted measures, including more regular inspections and an investment of £620m.

The plan comes after a Spotlight report into damp and mould by the Housing Ombudsman found the council to be the worst performing landlord on this issue. Hammersmith & Fulham topped the list as the landlord with the most damp and mould maladministration findings per 10,000 homes, with 10.8 findings.

This was the highest, followed by A2Dominion at a rate of three, Camden Council at 2.5, and Lambeth Council at two.

A council spokesperson said that damp and mould was a major priority for the council before the ombudsman report.

Lisa Homan, cabinet member for housing at Hammersmith & Fulham Council, apologised to residents at a meeting in January, following a motion by the Conservative opposition calling for a “clear and detailed” plan of how it will address the “repairs crisis”.

In December, the council committed to investing £1m a week for the next 12 years on refurbishing its housing stock to tackle issues of damp and drainage. The total investment amounts to more than £620m.

Disrepair, particularly damp and mould, has become a key issue for social landlords.

The ombudsman’s report accused social landlords of creating a “culture of blame” for tenants and urged a zero-tolerance approach when responding to damp and mould issues.

Hammersmith & Fulham’s plan emerged around the same time as Lewisham Homes, Lewisham Council’s ALMO, revealed that it had developed a damp and disrepair action plan.

It followed a tenant’s poor living conditions being exposed by ITV News’ ongoing investigation into the state of social housing.

In July, housing association Bromford announced it was setting aside £2m to help address damp and mould issues after ITV revealed the poor conditions in one of its properties.

On Monday during a Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee session looking into the regulation of the social housing sector, concerns were raised about the impact the current energy crisis would have on instances of damp and mould.

(Source)

Tenants Becoming Ill In ‘Unliveable’ Mould-Infested Cornwall Homes

Two neighbours have said that they are growing increasingly frustrated with a housing association after ongoing issues with mould and damp have caused their families to fall ill.

Jemma Wildman and Miss Greenaway live one door apart from each other on a street in Helston and have both said that their properties, provided by Sanctuary Housing, have had ongoing issues which have caused their families to develop a continuous cough.

Miss Wildman explained that she has had a leak in her roof since she moved into her home in 2020 which has now created a “serious mould problem” and has made her home “unliveable.”

“I reported the leak in the roof the Christmas of 2020 but they seemed to botch a fix when they came to repair it in last summer because I’m still having problems with it,” she said.

“After my most recent report, someone came to look at it again but it seems to be that it’s going to be a big job to repair because now I’ve had to be decanted from my home which was the last thing I wanted. She added that she was “heartbroken” when she found out that she needed to move between family members with her three young children over Christmas when her home became unfit to live in.

“Sanctuary gave us money to stay with family and friends while they look to repair the roof but nothing has been fixed yet and it’s becoming increasingly frustrating and distressing for my family”, she said. We’ve been living out of bags and we feel so unsettled. My son has special educational needs so it can really set him off being moved between so many different environments. It’s just heartbreaking that we’ve been left in this situation for so long and it feels like no one cares.”

Miss Wildman also explained that the damp and mould spores in her home have become so bad that she is not able to go back to her home without becoming ill.

Poor Social Housing Conditions Have Been A Problem For 30 Or 40 Years, Says Archbishop Of Canterbury

Poor social housing conditions have been a problem for 30 or 40 years and the government, councils and housing associations face a “considerable uphill battle” to solve the issue, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Speaking in an ITV interview on Tuesday, Justin Welby said the poor housing conditions faced by some social housing tenants, which have recently been highlighted as part of an ongoing investigation by the broadcaster, were “tragically familiar”.

When asked about his response to ITV’s investigation, which showed conditions including extreme mould and disrepair, he said he had a “tragic sense of familiarity from places I’d worked, from routine visits for funerals”.

“This has been going on for 30 or 40 years,” he added.

The archbishop said: “It’s not just a government issue; it needs housing associations, government, local government, landowners. We need a revolution in social housing and affordable housing.”

In 2019, the Church of England launched a commission to identify ways it can help tackle the housing crisis.

Last year, the commission published a report that included a number of recommendations, most notably that the church should make more use of its land to deliver affordable housing.

In yesterday’s ITV interview, the archbishop said one member of the commission “spent a whole night weeping” after seeing the conditions one social housing tenant was exposed to.

When asked what hope he has that the government, councils, housing associations and private landlords will act and that “something might shift”, he said it is a “considerable uphill struggle” and that the problem could take 10 years to solve.

He said: “I know one or two people in government said, ‘Oh good, the church can take some of the burden’. Cynicism. We’ve got to get over the cynicism.

“We need people who say, ‘In politics, my life’s ambition is to deal with that – I want to be the person who goes down in the history books as having made a difference on this in my local government or at national level’.

(Source)

Girl, 4, Forced To Play Beside Black Mould In Hell House With Dead Rats In Walls

A family say they have been left in a freezing, barely furnished home coated in black mould with dead rats rotting inside the walls.

Rashid, a Dutch national of Yemeni descent who came to the UK in 2002, said the property looked in relatively good condition when he moved in around five years ago. But within months, signs of a serious damp problem began to emerge, which precipitated a steady decline in the state of the house.

He said: “I have to throw the furniture out every six months because of the damp. I have just had to get rid of the sofa.

 

 

Other lows include a leak from the bathroom which has left serious damage in the kitchen, black mould spores coating window frames, wall spaces and ceilings and a distinctive sharp smell immediately present upon entering. Particularly harrowing was the sight of four-year-old Sara, wearing a Disney princess tiara, playing in rooms with visible outbreaks of black mould on the walls and ceilings.

While the mould and damp are serious health risks, a regular rat infestation has been particularly distressing for the family with young children. While the mould and damp are serious health risks, a regular rat infestation has been particularly distressing for the family with young children.

“We tried with the housing association and it has been like this for more than one year. They just keep sending surveyors, they say they will repair it but nothing seems to happen. “I ask for them to be treated fairly as human beings who with their kids have the right to live in safe and healthy environment.”

(Source)

 

Mouldy Council Flat May ‘Hasten Death’ For Lung Transplant Patient Pleading For New Home

Lisa Grainger, 31, who has Cystic Fibrosis, has been desperate to move from her damp one-bed flat in Kingstanding for two years.

The 31-year-old had a double lung transplant in March 2018 and moved into the Birmingham City Council property in October of that year.

Lisa was in and out of hospital with chest infections every two-weeks by Christmas 2018. When she left hospital in June 2019 she moved in with her mother in Great Barr and has not returned to the flat due to its damp condition.

Lisa, who continues to pay rent and bills at the flat, is on the donor list again for a second double lung transplant – with her body rejecting the first set.

Her family claim that living in the mouldy flat “has not helped her health” and doctors advised her to move to alternative accommodation as it could “hasten her death.”

Despite bidding on many properties and submitting evidence of her life-threatening condition Lisa feels like she has been “lost in the system”.

(Source)

Poor Housing Costs The NHS £1.4 Billion A Year

A new report produced by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) highlights the vast sum of money that is spent treating health problems caused by living in substandard homes.

Researchers have analysed government data on the number and types of hazards- such as excessive cold, damp and falling down the stairs- found in homes in England to calculate how much they cost the NHS.

The highest cost to the NHS -around £857 million- is spent on treating residents made ill by excessively cold homes.

An estimated £38 million is spent on treating the impact of damp, while £374 million is spent on injuries from falls caused by unsafe conditions.

The longer-term impact of low-quality housing, including people left unable to work or needing care, costs society £18.5 billion pounds every year, according to the BRE report.


The top 5 household hazards are:

  • Excessive cold (£857m per year)

  • All falls (£753m per year)

  • Dampness (£38m per year)

  • Fire (18m per year)

  • Hot surfaces (£17m per year)

Tikysha Thomas understands full well what it feels like to live in a hazardous home: her walls are thick with black and green mould and her floors are constantly sopping wet from a leak in the bathroom.

Her and daughter, Kacie, have lived in their flat owned by Hackney Council,in east London, since 2015 and have been living with severe disrepair for the last two and a half years.Previously Tikysha was fit and healthy, but since the mould in her home started to worsen she began experiencing severe shortness of breath and wheezing.

“The moment I step in my chest feels tight. I can feel all the moisture in the air,” she said.

“It is uncomfortable. As my daughter is walking up the stairs I am trying to not let her touch the sides so the mould and the damage doesn’t get on her hands.”

She was subsequently diagnosed with asthma and is forced to use her inhaler up to ten times in the night.

She is particularly worried as her daughter has started coughing too, making Tikysha fearful she also has developed the condition.

(Source)

 

Hackney Man’s Council Flat Kitchen Flooded With ‘3 Inches Of Dirty Water’ Causing ‘Risk Of Electrocution’

A vulnerable tenant from Hackney whose house has been declared ‘a risk to his life’ has shared photos showing the shocking extent of the disrepair in his home.

A 55-year-old man,  sought legal advice after complaining for two years about the state of his property. The resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, is at potential risk of electrocution, according to experts – as damp and water has spread all through his North London council house.

The tenant, who has lived in the property since May 2008, says he has been complaining to Hackney Council since 2019 with the help of his carer, both in person and on the telephone, reporting the main issues of no heating or hot water and a leak in his kitchen.

The house is said to be so uninhabitable it has three inches of dirty water on the kitchen floor which has been caused by a leak, originating from the kitchen sink that is coming away from the wall. The sink is also blocked and there is a pipe leaking on the floor.

(Source)

New Ombudsman Tables Reveal Worst-Performing Landlords On Damp And Mould

Between April 2019 and March 2021 the watchdog examined 410 complaints related to damp and mould, investigated 142 landlords and made maladministration findings in 56% of cases. This rose to 64% for complaint-handling.

The first table, ordered by maladministration findings per 10,000 homes so that the size of the organisation is taken into account, lists the highest number of damp and mould cases per social landlord.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council topped the list at 10.8 findings per 10,000 homes, followed by A2Dominion Housing Group at a rate of 3, Camden Council at 2.5, and Lambeth Council at 2.

Overall, the top 10 landlords paid out more than £57,000 in compensation, with Camden paying out the most at £11,692.

The ombudsman also provided a table showing how smaller landlords – those with between 1,000 and 10,000 homes – performed.

The top three worst performing were Harrow Council, with a maladministration finding rate of 5 per 10,000 homes, followed by Newlon Housing Trust at 4.1 and Waltham Forest Council at 1.

In total, the ombudsman found maladministration issues related to damp and mould in 40% of the 410 cases it looked into, making 373 findings and issuing 286 orders. Landlords were ordered to pay a total of £87,553 in compensation across 177 cases.

(Source)