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Housing Ombudsman says addressing damp and mould needs to be a higher priority for landlords

The Housing Ombudsman has published Spotlight on damp and mould – It’s not lifestyle.  The report draws on 410 complaints investigated about 142 landlords over a two-year period (with maladministration found in 56% of cases, rising to 64% for complaint handling alone), together with more than 500 responses to the Ombudsman’s call for evidence issued earlier this year.

The report concludes that addressing damp and mould needs to be a higher priority for landlords, which requires a change in culture from a reactive approach to a proactive approach, to improve the experience of residents.

Whilst the report recognises the challenges for landlords in tackling issues of damp and mould, including overcrowding, poverty, the age and design of homes, it says that landlords should avoid inferring blame on residents due to ‘lifestyle’.  The report identifies best practice and makes 26 recommendations for landlords including:

  • making greater use of intelligence and data to prevent issues arising and
  • adopting a consolidated policy for actions taken based on diagnosis
  • reviewing communications with residents to improve tone and
  • improving access to complaints to resolve issues, including alongside disrepair claims, and learning from those complaints.