[Diggers350] Homes Riddled With ‘Vermin, Mould, Damp, Leaks & Collapsing Ceilings’ Damning Housing Ombudsman Report

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Sat Oct 30 13:48:02 BST 2021

Homes Riddled With ‘Vermin, Mould, Damp, Leaks 
And Collapsing Ceilings’ The Damning Housing 
Ombudsman Report Triggered By An ITV News Investigation


‘There needs to be change’: The damning housing 
report triggered by an ITV News investigation

Tuesday 26 October 2021, 10:41pm Daniel Hewitt, Political Correspondent

The Ombudsman’s “damning” report accuses councils 
of creating a “culture of blame” for tenants who 
are living in squalid conditions, explains ITV 
News Political Correspondent Daniel Hewitt
The Housing Ombudsman for England has called for 
a culture change in social housing, accusing 
landlords of blaming tenants and not taking 
responsibility for disrepairs following an ITV News investigation.

Richard Blakeway told ITV News he was “shocked” 
by the news reports, saying councils and housing 
associations lack empathy and respect for residents.

In a damning report, which investigated 142 
social housing providers and spoke to hundreds of 
tenants, he demanded “changes in culture, 
behaviour and approach; from being reactive to 
proactive, and from inferring blame to taking responsibility.”

The Ombudsman’s inquiry was launched after a 
series of ITV News reports which found social 
housing tenants living in uninhabitable 
conditions, in homes riddled with mould, damp, leaks and collapsing ceilings.

Dan Hewitt on the damning report and what needs 
to change to improve social housing for tenants

Britain’s Housing Shame: Shocking conditions and despair at a lack of action
The man struggling to breathe in council flat ‘unfit to house humans’
“The recent media coverage clearly demonstrates 
the significant impact on residents when things 
do go wrong, complaints are not responded to 
appropriately, and lessons are not learned,” said Mr Blakeway.

“There is a strong legislative and policy basis 
to prevent these issues arising but it is clear 
that despite this, residents are still facing 
problems, sometimes extreme problems, and 
landlords are struggling to resolve these. This 
means we need a fresh approach.”

‘There needs to be a zero tolerance approach, 
there needs to be a change in culture’

He said the distress caused by landlords’ failure 
to resolve mould and damp cases was “the most 
profound we have seen”, raising concerns about 
tenants’ physical and mental health, and stressing the impact on children.

It has also led, the report states, to “the loss of trust and reputation.”

What does the report call for?

The report makes 26 recommendations to councils 
and housing associations, demanding they:

adopt a zero-tolerance approach to damp and mould interventions

review the accessibility and use of their systems 
for reporting repairs and making complaints

improve staff training

avoid automatically apportioning blame or using 
language that leaves residents feeling blamed

treat residents with “respect and empathy.”

Mr Blakeway told ITV News: “I think the focus of 
scrutiny that you’ve brought on this issue, 
alongside our work as an Ombudsman, means that 
most landlords are waiting for this report, and 
want to read this report and see what action they can take as a result of it.”

The Ombudsman announced in April an inquiry into 
the prevalence of damp and mould in homes across 
England, after a series of ITV News reports into social housing conditions.

In March we revealed the shocking state of a 
block of flats in South London owned and managed 
by Croydon Council, where for years tenants’ 
complaints of thick, black mould, soaked floors 
and dangerous leaks had been ignored. The living 
conditions were described by leading housing 
charity Shelter as the worst they had ever seen.

Here is ITV News’ first report into the shocking 
state of social housing some tenants have to put 
up with – the first of a hard-hitting series of reports

ITV News has been inundated with cases across 
country of tenants living in damp, mould-infested 
homes struggling to be taken seriously.

The Housing Ombudsman’s inquiry is one of five 
investigations prompted by ITV News’ housing investigation, including:

An independent inquiry into Croydon Council, 
which found tenants health and safety was put at risk

A Regulator for Social Housing investigation into 
Croydon which found the Council guilty of breaching consumer standards

A Regulator for Social Housing inquiry into 
Clarion – Britain’s biggest housing association – 
following an ITV News report into conditions on 
the Eastfields estate in Mitcham

An investigation by the Welsh Government into the 
state of social housing in Wales.

Is the Ombudsman partly at fault for this?
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