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Senior councillors say that enhanced processes are being rolled out from June 2021 to deliver a “robust, streamlined, start-to-finish approach” that will quickly address immediate moisture-related issues within Council homes.
By laying out a revised step-by-step guide on how tenants will be fully supported in a report presented to the housing, homelessness and fair work committee on June 3, the council is demonstrating a commitment to addressing issues of damp, mould or condensation for tenants.
The report makes clear that the first step will be to remove and reinstate any walls or surfaces affected, alongside work to identify the causes and address them. It's been designed to ensure that tenants are kept up to date through more frequent updates from locality officers and ongoing liaison so they know what to expect at every step of the process.
In the short term, following the successful pilot dehumidifier programme, devices will now be made available as standard, with help to fund the running costs for the duration they are required.
action will be taken to investigate if there are any underlying issues such as poor external fabric, poorly performing heating systems, issues with windows or doors, or ineffective extractor fans.
The convener and vice convener of the housing, homelessness and fair work committee, councillor Kate Campbell and councillor Mandy Watt, say that they both have looked to tackle this challenge for the council repairs service head on, listening to tenants’ concerns and taking more responsibility to make sure council tenants live in homes that are clean, safe and warm.
The Evening News regularly reports issues with council homes affected by mould, damp and moisture, leading in some cases to health fears for the tennants.
Councillor Campbell said: “I’ve heard the concerns raised by our tenants and recognise that there were issues with the process. Previously if damp wasn’t identified, but there was mould and condensation, tenants were often given a referral to the energy advice service, but too often work wasn’t undertaken to identify any underlying issues which could be causing mould, and mould was not removed as the first step. This report sets out how that process will change.
“The new process will be more transparent from start to finish and it will be made clear at the beginning what tenants can expect. The process is designed to make sure we are dealing with these issues in the short, medium and long term, and there are checks along the way as well as six weeks after the work is completed.
“This will be complimented by the current capital investment programme and the work we’re starting to retrofit existing homes to high energy efficient standards. This demonstrates our intention to improve the quality of all of our Council homes and bring them up to modern standard of energy efficiency which in turn will help to keep homes better ventilated, warmer and cheaper to heat. Fuel poverty is a critical factor and this report outlines the measures in place to address this worrying situation for families.