The Regulator of Social Housing has released a comprehensive report shedding light on how social landlords are addressing the issue of damp and mould in their tenants' homes.
This report, rose from responses following a tragic incident in Rochdale, where Awaab Ishak, a two-year old child living in a one-bedroom flat died because of a severe respiratory condition. In 2022, a coroner at Rochdale coroner's court ruled that this was caused by prolonged exposure to black mould in his home which had "inadequate ventilation and was not equipped for normal day-to-day living activities which led to excess damp and condensation".
The report aims to guide social landlords by highlighting the most effective strategies employed by better-performing organisations.
In this article, we will look into three main damp and mould tackling strategies that came out of the report, highlighting the importance of data management, strong oversight, and proactive responses.
Effective Data Management: A Cornerstone for Success
Accurate and Up-to-Date Information: One of the key findings from the report is that high-performing landlords excel in managing data related to tenants' homes. These landlords maintain accurate and up-to-date information, allowing them to identify and resolve issues proactively. This strategy ensures a better understanding of the condition of each property, enabling swift and targeted interventions to prevent damp and mould.
Proactive Problem Resolution: Social landlords who prioritise effective data management use the information not only to react to tenant concerns but to proactively address potential problems. By leveraging data analytics and predictive modelling, these landlords can anticipate issues before they escalate, demonstrating a commitment to maintaining safe and habitable living conditions.
Strong Oversight: Board and Councillor Involvement
Essential Governance Involvement: The report underscores the vital role of strong oversight from boards or councillors in ensuring an effective response to damp and mould issues. Landlord management teams should be held accountable, and assurance should be sought that they are responding promptly and effectively when tenants raise concerns.
Identifying Gaps in Oversight: The report identifies instances where some boards and councillors had limited oversight of the condition of tenants' homes. In some cases, specific processes for identifying and tackling damp and mould were lacking. Strengthening governance structures is crucial to bridging these gaps and ensuring a comprehensive and proactive approach to property management.
Preparation for Stronger Consumer Regulation: A Call to Action
Regulatory Changes on the Horizon: Social landlords are urged to prepare for stronger consumer regulation, set to be enforced from April 2024. The upcoming Social Housing (Regulation) Act will introduce regular inspections for larger social landlords. This legislative shift underscores the importance of adopting robust strategies to address damp and mould issues, as non-compliance may lead to increased scrutiny and potential consequences for landlords.
Call for Self-Reflection: Fiona MacGregor, the chief executive of the Regulator of Social Housing, emphasises that tenants deserve to live in homes that are safe and free from serious hazards. The report serves as a call for self-reflection among landlords, urging them to carefully analyse the findings and consider how they can enhance their approach to ensure the well-being of their tenants.
Role of Technology in Future Regulation
Most social housing providers are acknowledged for taking damp and mould seriously, addressing cases effectively, and making improvements over the past year. However, the report also identifies a minority with inadequate responses, stressing the need for a closer look into their approaches. This highlights the importance of data-backed strategies in ensuring a comprehensive understanding and response to housing issues.
As a tech company specialising in customer engagement solutions, we believe that customer feedback as well as innovative technologies, including data analytics and AI-driven tools, can play a pivotal role in assisting landlords in meeting these expectations. Using technology to improve data management, monitor housing conditions, and boost tenant communication can contribute to a more efficient and responsive public housing sector.
The report from the Regulator of Social Housing provides valuable insights into effective strategies for tackling damp and mould in tenants' homes. Social landlords are encouraged to prioritise accurate data management, strengthen board and councillor involvement, and prepare for upcoming regulatory changes. By adopting these strategies, landlords can contribute to creating safe, decent, and hazard-free living conditions for their tenants.
GovMetric can help you answer these questions. To find out more about how we are helping councils like Camden and other social landlords to improve their damp and mould services, contact us here. You can also read our Camden customer story here.
Karolis Duoba is the Marketing Manager of GovMetric, home of the leading Citizen Experience Management solution for the public sector.