Manchester City Council reviews damp and mould complaints after Awaab Ishak death

08112022 - Awaab - Granada
Review to be carried out after death of toddler Awaab Ishak Credit: Family picture

All mould and damp repairs across council houses in Manchester are to be reviewed following the death of Awaab Ishak.

Two-year-old Awaab died as a result of what a coroner said was "a severe respiratory condition caused due to prolonged exposure to mould in his home environment".

His family had repeatedly complained to the landlord about mould in their flat on the Freehold estate in Rochdale.

Awaab Ishak died after prolonged exposure to mould at his housing association flat. Credit: ITV

Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, which owns and manages the estate, has now set up a specialist taskforce to tackle mould and damp in its homes.

Manchester City Council has decided that all its relevant staff will be given further training while housing associations have agreed to urgently address complaints.

In addition the authority is reviewing how tenants in the private sector can report these issues.

The city council is revisiting repairs relating to mould, damp and condensation across all the 12,500 homes in its stock, setting a deadline of five working days for significant issues and 15 working days for minor ones to be addressed.

In addition council bosses have ruled that all repair works where young children or vulnerable people are part of the household should be completed first.

Labour councillor Gavin White told a scrutiny committee meeting attended by the Local Democracy Reporting Service that housing associations share his 'determination' for such a 'tragic' case like Awaab's to never happen again.

The death of Awaab Ishak prompted new legislation to be passed as part of the Social Housing Act Credit: Family handout/PA

The executive member for housing and development called for the social housing regulator's powers to be strengthened.

He added that that damp, leaks, excess cold and associated mould are 'by far the largest' category of complaints that the town hall's housing team receives.

Of the 1,800 complaints to the council's private rented sector team, 37 percent were for damp and mould with 21 judged to be in the most serious 'Category 1'.

In 79 of the cases the council has taken enforcement action through fines, prohibition orders and improvement notices.

The council also wants more powers to tackle rogue landlords.

Councillor White told the scrutiny committee meeting that,

"A lot of work is going on and rightly so after the tragic and heartbreaking case with Awaab Ishak which really shone a light on housing conditions in the city and in the UK, particularly in relation to damp and mould."