Housing sector comes together to address damp and mould
Housing organisations are coming together to provide the sector with new guidance on tackling damp and mould, in light of an increased focus on the issue following the tragic death of Awaab Ishak.
ALACHO (Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers), the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), CIH Scotland and the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) are running a programme of events and guidance to help frontline staff right through to Board members take a proactive approach to damp or mould in social homes.
On 9 February, ALACHO is inviting colleagues from local authorities and housing associations to attend its ‘Managing Mould and Damp - Best Practice Social Housing’ online session.
The masterclass, open to all organisations in the sector, is part of the four organisations’ joint approach on supporting the housing sector on the vital issue of tackling damp and mould.
Joint Scotland-specific guidance on good practice, based on a Chartered Institute of Housing’s UK publication, will be shared with the sector following the online masterclass. On 3 March SFHA will host an online session for governing body members of SFHA member organisations and will subsequently publish guidance for board members.
The non-statutory guidance recognises that issues of damp and mould are often multi-layered, and solutions can include both tackling problems with the property and supporting tenants with any issues that may affect the experience of living in that home, particularly with the rising cost of energy and other living costs.
Damp and mould will also be on the agenda at the CIH Scotland Housing Festival on March 7th and 8th in Glasgow.
SFHA’s chief executive Sally Thomas said: “It is everyone’s right to live in a safe, warm and affordable home and that is what housing associations and co-operatives strive to provide. Nine out of ten social housing tenants are satisfied with the quality of their homes: but when things go wrong, it’s essential that this is addressed quickly.
“Housing associations in Scotland have always worked hard to tackle damp and mould. They are now redoubling their efforts, and we are pleased to be working with partners across the housing sector to support them.
”We are increasingly hearing that tenants are reducing their use of ventilation and heating systems, given the energy crisis and the rising costs of heating their homes. It’s vital that both the Scottish and UK Governments continue taking action to help people keep their homes warm and dry.”
Callum Chomczuk, national director of the Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland, added: “All tenants of social housing should live in good quality, well-managed homes and always be treated with dignity and respect. Where this is not the case, we must work quickly to put that right and as such I am delighted that the four organisations (ALACHO, CIH, SFHA, SHR) are coming together to provide guidance.
“As the professional body for housing, we are committed to working with our members, tenants, communities, partners and housing professionals to highlight good practice and I hope the recommendations in these reports will help the sector improve tenants’ housing quality.”
Helen Shaw, director of regulation at the Scottish Housing Regulator, commented: “We wrote to all landlords in December 2022 to ask all governing bodies and committees to consider the systems they have in place to ensure that their homes are not affected by mould and dampness and that they can identify and deal with any reported cases of mould and damp timeously and effectively. We hope this advice helps all social landlords assure themselves that is the case.”
John Mills, co-chair at ALACHO (Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers), said: “Ensuring the health and wellbeing of tenants is of the utmost importance to local authority landlords. Local Authorities are reviewing their systems and procedures to managing mould and damp in tenant’s homes and ensuring they have robust procedures in place for managing reports and instances of mould and dampness.
“ALACHO are working closely with Local Authority members, SFHA, SHR and the Charted Institute of Housing Scotland to publish a best practice guidance for the social housing sector to provide consistency of approaches to managing mould and damp.”