Published On: Sun, Jan 14th, 2024

Tenants told ‘you’re breathing too much’ after complaining about mouldy homes | UK | News

Others have been advised to use bleach, open their windows or put the heating on.

The residents live in properties managed by Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) – responsible for the flat where two-year-old Awaab Ishak died in December 2020.

A coroner ruled a year ago that his “preventable” death was due to a respiratory condition caused by exposure to mould.

A new “Awaab’s Law” could eventually force rogue landlords to make emergency repairs to mouldy homes within 24 hours.

In the meantime, other tenants of RBH fear that damp and mould are slowly killing them.

Leah Nuttall told a recent meeting the air in her bedroom was so “heavy” with damp that she sleeps on a mattress in the lounge.

Her family have been told the problem is “due to them breathing too much at night”.

Sean Doyle said his 10 year-old son had been diagnosed with asthma “because of this property and bad living conditions”. He added that “furry green mould” was growing around where his daughter slept and “bluntly, we are paying rent to slowly kill ourselves”.

He added: “No one wants their children to end up with the same fate as the little boy who died.”

Tania Walsh, whose son Keane spent most of his early life in hospital with bronchitis, said her family suffered “constant chest infections”.

She added: “The mould gets into the kids’ toys and the sofa – and you can’t get it out. You have to throw that away. It is just draining.”

Tania claimed contacting RBH was “like talking to a brick wall.

“They promise you the world and get your hopes up,” she said. “Then you’re waiting and waiting – and nothing happens. Home is somewhere to go back to but it’s not even a nice place to be.”

RBH boss Amanda Newton apologised, saying some work had been done and other jobs were pending.

She added: “Our top priority is the health and wellbeing of our customers – and we are working hard to carry out the repairs required.

“We are doing our best to ­prioritise the homes and families affected.”

A spokesman for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: “It is appalling that three years since the death of Awaab, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing residents are facing serious issues with damp and mould.”

He claimed RBH had ben banned from bidding for the Government’s Affordable Homes programme and that the Regulator of Social Housing was working to ensure that tenants did not have to live in unacceptable conditions.

“Last week, we launched our consultation on Awaab’s Law, which will introduce strict time limits forcing social landlords to fix dangerous hazards, such as damp and mould.”

He added: “Subject to consultation, we will introduce those regulations as soon as possible.”

Ms Newton added: “I must reassure all customers that any feedback from them is taken seriously and we absolutely do care about the experience they have with RBH.”

“We record all our calls, and if any customers feel that we have not handled their call appropriately, we encourage them to get in touch with us so that we can listen to the call and investigate their concerns.”

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