Islington Council is to be investigated by the housing watchdog after repeated complaints about damp and mould in its properties.

The Housing Ombudsman announced onWednesday (December 14) that it will determine whether the complaints are indicative of wider failure at the council as landlord.

Between April 1, 2021 and March 31 this year, the watchdog formally warned Islington Council about its conduct in four out of the five damp, mould and leaks complaints it investigated.

Islington Council is currently the landlord to more than 36,000 households, 25,200 of which have council tenants. The remaining 10,700 households belong to leaseholders.

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Housing Ombudsman Richard Blakeway said: “After repeated failures in this area over the past year, I have been alerted to two new damp and mould complaints concerning the landlord that have been assessed as high risk. Under the circumstances, I have instructed my team to expedite these investigations.

“Other cases with us concern similar issues and may indicate a repeated failing.

“At the end of the monitoring period, we will publish a learning report highlighting any issues we have identified in the cases investigated and make recommendations to the landlord where appropriate.”

Cllr Una O’Halloran, Islington Council’s executive member for homes and communities, said: “It’s vital all our tenants live in homes that are free from damp and mould.  We know that in some cases, we have fallen short of the high standards our residents deserve.  We are very sorry about this, and are urgently reviewing these cases.

“We’re also actively reviewing all damp and mould cases from the last three years, contacting residents to make sure the issue was resolved, and taking additional action if needed.

“We’re also investing an extra £1million to recruit specialist surveyors, and to pay for more insulation and ventilation to tackle damp and mould.

“In addition, we’re developing training for non-specialist housing staff to identify damp and mould concerns when visiting homes on other issues - for example, for staff carrying out gas compliance checks.

“We will welcome the Housing Ombudsman’s team and give them all the help and support they need for their investigation.

“We will keep working to eradicate damp and mould until our tenants have the secure, decent, genuinely affordable homes they need.”