Hackney Council to step up enforcement action on damp and mould
Landlords who put lives at risk by ignoring serious damp and mould issues will face fines and legal action after Hackney Council approved extra funding to improve living conditions and step up enforcement against rogue landlords.
The 25% increase in funding, equivalent to £400,000 a year for the council’s private sector enforcement team, was announced as part of the budget setting process last month. It will be focused on expanding enforcement capacity and ensuring private landlords meet their duty to tackle damp and mould and provide a good, safe home to their tenants.
The announcement is the latest step in Hackney Council’s pledge to address damp and mould issues across all housing types in Hackney in response to the tragic case of Awaab Ishak, a two year old who died following prolonged exposure to mould in his family home in Rochdale.
It adds to the council’s plans to tackle damp and mould in its own housing stock, including a five day turnaround to address all reported damp and mould issues and a new next working day repair service to respond to reports of leaks.
Since 1 December 2022, the council has responded to more than 70 reports of damp and mould in privately rented homes, with each report acted on within five days and enforcement notices served where the landlords fails to take steps to resolve the issue.
This investment is the latest boost for the council’s #BetterRenting campaign, which strives for a better system for the more than 30,000 private renters in Hackney by supporting tenants, challenging government and tackling rogue landlords.
Case study: a private renter in Clapton
Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney and Cllr Sem Moema, Mayoral Adviser for Private Renting and Housing Affordability, joined the enforcement team on a visit to a resident in Clapton who is experiencing extensive issues with damp and mould. The tenant has lived in the home for around five years with her five year old daughter. On inspecting the home, council officers found mould in the bedroom and covering the wall and ceiling in the bathroom, as well as high humidity in the kitchen causing the appliances to rust.
Since moving in, the resident’s five year old daughter has developed a chronic cough which is likely to have been caused by the mould and has forced the mother and daughter to sleep in the living room. Rather than dealing with the damp, the landlord has served the resident with two section 21 evictions – a no fault eviction which the council is lobbying the government to ban. The council are now taking enforcement action to force the landlord to undertake the required repairs.
Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney said:
“We’ve already announced clear plans to tackle damp and mould in Council properties – this additional investment we are making available in this year’s budget will mean we can provide the same support for private renters.
“What we saw in this one home was heartbreaking and illustrated the importance of investing in our services to equip them with the resources they need to challenge cases like these and ensure every resident has a safe and secure home.“
Cllr Sem Moema, Mayoral Advisor for Private Renting and Housing Affordability said:
“While this is only one case, it illustrates the unsafe and unacceptable conditions a lot of our residents in the private rental sector are being forced to live in to prevent unfair evictions.
“This funding boost will allow us to use every power to raise standards of accommodation and challenge rogue landlords in the borough, while we continue to lobby the national government for the protections that our private renters deserve.“
Private renters experiencing issues with damp and mould can report this to the Council’s private sector housing team on 020 8356 4866 (Mon to Fri, 9am – 4pm) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The council have also published some simple tips people to help prevent the build-up of condensation which can lead to damp and mould, available on the council’s website.
Our free guide containing more information about property licensing and HMO planning restrictions in the London Borough of Hackney is available here.
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