Housing associations reveal more than 60 homes in Torfaen have damp and mould problems
Twm Owen, local democracy reporter
There are more than 60 housing association homes in just one Gwent borough requiring immediate action to tackle damp and mould.
The figures were revealed by social landlords Bron Afon Community Housing and Melin Homes to Torfaen County Borough Council.
It had sought the information following the death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak who a coroner concluded died of a respiratory condition caused by mould in his family’s housing association home in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.
Torfaen council’s cabinet member for housing, Councillor David Daniels, said the authority will organise advice surgeries for people concerned about damp and mould in their homes in the new year.
He said: “We are not a (housing) stock holding authority but that is not to say we do not need to go above and beyond our responsibilities.”
The sessions, to be held across the borough, will involve council officers, Public Health Wales, the Citizens Advice Bureau and the registered social landlords and Mr Daniels said: “It will probably be a difficult conversation for them.”
Cllr Daniels was asked by independent councillor for Blaenavon, Cllr Janet Jones, at the full council meeting today (6 December), for assurances local social housing landlords would inspect all their properties and take immediate action following the death of Awaab and the coroner’s conclusion in November.
She said poor housing is a common complaint for councillors: “We receive many calls from concerned residents on the state of their rented properties which are sometimes damp, have mould, and are causing health problems especially for those with respiratory issues, asthma and more serious conditions.”
In response the Labour cabinet member said he had asked officers to seek those assurances and had to date received information from Bron Afon, which has more than 8,000 homes in Torfaen, and Melin which has more than 4,500 homes across Gwent.
Cllr Daniels said the two organisations had identified 64 properties requiring immediate remediation and said both have systems in place to track the conditions of their housing and identify those requiring work to address damp and mould and ensure work is carried out on a priority basis.
He said both bodies also said they provide advice to tenants. The council is still waiting for a response from the Pobl housing association which he described as “a much smaller landlord”.
Cllr Jones, of the Torfaen Independent Group, said she welcomed the plan for advice surgeries and added: “They may be uncomfortable for our social landlords but they have a duty of care.”
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