Call for all 2.5 million social homes in England to be audited for faults including damp and mould

Awaab Ishak died of a severe respiratory issue after exposure to severe damp and mould. Credit: PA

An independent review into social housing will call for an audit of all 2.5 million homes in England including for damp and mould, ITV News understands.

The inquiry was commissioned earlier this year by the National Housing Federation (NHF) and the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), after an ITV News investigation found widespread issues of disrepair and poor complaints handling across the sector.

I understand the report led by Helen Baker of Shelter and published on Tuesday will make seven recommendations to the NHF, who represent housing associations in England.

A “thorough” audit of every social home in the country is likely to be top of the list in an attempt to fully comprehend the scale of disrepair and drive up standards.

ITV News Investigations Correspondent Daniel Hewitt discusses whether the review will actually change anything for social housing

Both the NHF and the CIH have agreed to the audit, I’m told.

The recommendations will also include a call on housing associations to refocus on their “core purpose of delivering quality homes.”

Providers has been criticised by Housing Secretary Michael Gove and others for prioritising house building and new developments at the expense of their existing stock.

When ITV News interviewed NHF Chair Kate Henderson last year, she apologised to the state of some people’s properties but denied there was a widespread problem in the sector.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove. Credit: ITV News

Since then several reports and inquiries including by MPs and the Housing Ombudsman have found a culture of blaming tenants for disrepair and a deterioration of homes that has left some “unfit for human habitation.”

Several social landlords including Clarion have been found guilty of severe maladministration over their handling of complaints.

The death of two-year old Awaab Ishak in a housing association flat in Rochdale has piled more pressure on the sector to act.

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