Procedures to tackle damp and mould in council housing agreed

New procedures to ensure any damp or mould issues in council-managed housing is dealt with quickly and effectively have been agreed.

The four-stage Damp and Mould Standard is being introduced as part of a package of measures to ensure Westmorland and Furness Council’s 2,600 properties and associated assets meet quality standards.

Legislation associated with Government’s Social Housing White Paper, which aims to strengthen the accountability of landlords for the provision of safe homes, quality services and treating residents with respect, is due to be passed in the next few months.

In preparation council officers are reviewing current policies, procedures and tenant engagement to ensure they align with the new legislation.

This includes a detailed condition survey of the council’s housing stock – which already meets the Decent Homes Standard and all homes are at Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C – and reviewing how surveys of tenants’ and residents’ opinions and views are conducted.

Existing standards have been benchmarked against the Government’s key measures for information and procedures, with damp and condensation information videos available for tenants offering comprehensive advice and guidance and a new four-stage Damp and Mould Standard introduced.

The Damp and Mould Standard sets out a clear process for notification of any issues, followed by the procedure for intervention, advice and remedies, which could include support for the tenant to access heating grants, ventilation improvements or assistance with decoration.

A meeting of Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet on Monday (24 April) endorsed the review of housing policies, procedures and tenant engagement to ensure the council’s standards align to the new legislation and agreed the new Damp and Mould Standard.

Caroline Wagstaff, Westmorland and Furness Council’s Assistant Director of Housing, said that officers would continue to work to ensure services meet the requirements of the emerging guidance and would continue to review updates from the regulator.

She continued: “Westmorland and Furness Council has a key ethos to be a caring council, putting health and wellbeing at the forefront of our activities.

“We want to make sure that our housing stock continues to meet the quality standards, including for our procedures around dealing with any issues with damp or mould, and that our tenants feel valued, listened to and engaged.’’

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