‘Stop blaming council tenants for damp and rehome them’ Islington health chiefs say
08:00 22 September 2016
Council tenants whose damp, mouldy homes are making them ill should be moved with no questions asked, health chiefs have said.
Town hall officers have also been told to stop blaming people for the condition of their homes and recognise huge amounts of Islington’s housing stock is not up to scratch.
A report has been published on the back of a 15-month review into the widespread problem blighting the borough’s housing stock, which health and care scrutiny committee members believe is causing a spiralling list of illnesses.
They are now urging bosses to sign off a radical 10-point plan, which would see anyone requesting a move being granted one.
Experts found health problems from asthma and colds to respiratory and heart conditions can be caused by cold and damp, while there is also “strong evidence” it affects people’s mental health. Early exposure has also been found to trigger asthma and wheezing in young children.
But should the proposals be agreed, they would add yet more strain to the housing crisis caused by a severe lack of available homes.
Islington Council now spends £2million a year tackling the problem and major works are already underway at the two worst-hit estates, Andover and Girdlestone – the latter of which is 95 per cent damp-ridden.
Katie White, chairwoman of the Andover Estate Tenants and Residents Association (TRA), said the move would be music to the ears of all affected. “There’s people in my block with damp in every room,” she said. “Me and another TRA member went around the whole estate asking people if they had damp and gave it to the council, but they didn’t do anything.
“They just said ‘it’s the way you live, open some windows’. But I know people whose children are ill because of it. I hope this helps them.” The report says council surveyors have for years blamed problems on tenants’ lifestyles and says faults with building design and structure should now always be ruled out first.
A council spokesman said the draft proposals were to be considered and would be put before the executive once agreed.