Newham Council told to pay out after mould failings
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Newham Council told to pay out after mould failings

Aug 01, 2023

An east London council has been ordered to pay a resident £5,400 after taking three years to resolve mould and damp issues.

Newham Council told the resident to clean the mould themselves and took too long to carry out repairs, a Housing Ombudsman report found.

The watchdog said the resident had been left to live among damp and mould for "an unreasonable amount of time".

The council apologised "unreservedly" for the state of the home.

Over the course of more than three years, the resident contacted and chased the council multiple times and asked to be kept updated on repairs, however, it failed to do this.

While the council did fix a leak within a year of it first being reported, the damp and mould problem continued to cause problems in the tenant's home and was affecting the light fittings and the area around the fuse box.

According to the resident, the council would not carry out specific works on the damp and mould and instead told him to clean it himself.

The ombudsman report noted: "Whilst the resident continued to complain about damp and mould, the [council] continued to fail in updating him on what was happening with his home and actions that could be taken to fix it."

Two years after first reporting the issue to the council, the resident asked to be moved into temporary accommodation because his home smelt strongly of damp and believed a rat infestation was infiltrating his home because of the mould problem.

Having only been in temporary accommodation for a few weeks, the council told the resident the repairs were finished and he could move back, however, when he returned he believed the repairs were below standard.

After the ombudsman investigated the resident's complaint, the council was ordered to apologise to the resident and pay £5,400 in compensation.

Richard Blakeway, the Housing Ombudsman, said: "There were significant failings throughout this case which left the resident living with damp and mould for an unreasonable amount of time."

There was a "lack of proactive action and poor communication" which contributed to "significant delays", the ombudsman added, including in arranging temporary accommodation .

Despite the issues, Newham Council "did not change its approach and take ownership of the resolution of the issues," he said.

Newham Council said in a statement: "We fully accept the ombudsman's findings and have acted on each of the orders made.

"We have also found alternative accommodation for the household involved and will continue to work with them to find a suitable permanent solution."

The council added it was taking a "well-established, proactive approach" when tackling mould and damp issues across the borough and that it has invested in a "dedicated" mould and damp task-force.

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