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Stoke-on-Trent City Council launches major crackdown on damp and mould

Published: Tuesday, 7th November 2023

A major crackdown on damp and mould has been launched in Stoke-on-Trent to make sure all residents can live in safe, dry and warm homes.

Stoke-on-Trent is building on its commitment to ensuring all of its properties are dry and mould-free as part of a new D.A.M.P campaign which was officially launched this afternoon (Tuesday 7 November).

The campaign will:

  • Work to ensure all council properties are damp-free and better insulated;
  • See the launch of a dedicated ‘Find it. Fix it’ team to respond to reports of damp and mould and complete repairs as quickly as possible;
  • See annual checks carried out across all council properties to help identify incidents of damp and mould;
  • Address the issue of missed appointments by establishing clear service standards; and
  • Ensure that incidents of damp and mould are rare, brief and resolved first time.

While the focus will be on the city council’s own housing stock, the authority is engaging with social housing providers in the city to develop a wider partnership approach to tackling damp and mould.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is also committed to working with private sector landlords to ensure minimum standards are maintained in rented homes.

The authority will support landlords in their duties - and take enforcement action where necessary. At the same time, the city council will support and inform homeowners about the steps they can take to prevent and tackle damp and mould in their own homes.

Council leader Jane Ashworth said: “A huge amount of work has already been done to support our efforts to raise housing standards across the city. In our first 100 days, we launched a new strategy for older people’s housing, refreshed our repairs and maintenance policies, launched a consultation on our new Fuel Poverty Strategy, agreed a major investment programme in our housing stock and now, we’ve adopted a new Damp and Mould Policy.

“For far too long, many of our residents have had to live in unacceptable conditions, mostly due to problems with damp and mould, and we are committed to changing that. We have a responsibility to ensure all our residents can live in safe, dry and warm homes and we are taking that extremely seriously.

“From now on, we will be treating damp and mould as a serious housing safety issue. We will respond more quickly to reports, tackle problems before they escalate and give our residents all the support they need to reduce damp and mould in their own homes. Together, we can make sure all our homes are dry and safe places to live.”

Earlier this year, Stoke-on-Trent City Council announced a £117 million capital investment programme which will see improvement works carried out at around 14,500 council-owned properties over the next five years.

As part of this investment, around £50.6 million will be spent on ensuring all council homes meet the national ‘Decent Homes’ standard. This work will help to tackle the main causes of damp and mould through replacement roofs, upgrading insulation and the installation of new boilers, while a further £16.2 million has been earmarked for energy efficiency improvements.

Councillor Chris Robinson, cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: “From today, we are going to transform the way we deal with damp and mould. We are taking a zero-tolerance approach.

“We have a duty of care to the tens of thousands of residents who live in our council homes and we know that damp and mould is a serious issue - between 15 and 20 per cent of tenants report some sort of issue with damp and mould in their property each year, and the majority of these reports are in the autumn and winter months.

“We do not underestimate the scale of the problem we are facing and we understand that we have a significant challenge with respect to the risk of mould in our own housing stock, which is primarily due to when and how some of our homes were constructed, but we are not using that as an excuse.

“We are taking this very seriously and, by working collaboratively with our tenants and Unitas, our repairs services provider, we will do everything we can to ensure incidents of damp and mould are properly addressed.”

A dedicated web page has been launched to ensure all residents can easily report issues with damp and mould and get access to rapid advice.

Visit www.stoke.gov.uk/dmc or call 01782 234100.