Damp and Mould Housing Summit - What We Learnt
Tuesday 25th of April 2023
The 22nd of March saw Tpas host the first of our 3 housing summits for this year focusing on the issue that has sadly been extremely high on the sectors agenda of Damp and Mould especially considering the tragedy surrounding the tragic death of young Awaab Ishak and the highlighting of people living in similar conditions to his across the country.
The event focussed on three key themes surrounding damp and mould and what is being done to tackle it:
Understanding the science
Tpas Contractor members Envirovent and St-Gobaine industry experts in this field led summit participants in a session that went through the science behind damp and mould in the home and the relevant causes. They went on to demonstrate the industry led approach to tacking this issue and challenges involved in solving a problem that has been estimated to affect over 6 million homes.
Understanding the regulation
The Housing Ombudsman Service was next, and they took us through their latest findings on damp and mould in the recent highlight report and the proactive measures the service is taking in dealing with the increase in cases reported to them.
Understanding our role
The final session of the day was an open workshop allowing summit participants to share what work has been done in their organisations on this issue, what is planned and what practical steps will they take from the day.
With over a hundred people taking part in the day there was plenty of discussion on what could and should be done to address this urgent concern. Many people spoke passionately from personal lived experience and shared heart-breaking examples from their communities.
From the 3 sessions we managed to piece together some common themes which were:
Many people were surprised at how systemic the problem was and what the causes were. There was a clear need for education for all on the causes and cures for damp and mould and the impact this can have on individuals, families, and communities in a whole host of ways be it physical impact or individual and collective mental health. How it can spread wider into affecting educational achievement or employment prospects.
It was clear from the start of the event that the old excuse of “lifestyle” choices as the main cause of damp and mould don’t stack up anymore. With millions of homes affected this issue has a huge complex list of interlocking causes. Attendees at the even felt that there needed to be a drive to communicate what providers are doing around damp and mould and how tenants can assist. There was also a call for more stories that highlight the dreadful impact that this is having on people, so it remains a priority that is high on the housing agenda and to ensure that misconceptions are regularly challenged.
Working together and building partnerships was considered key to tackling the issues around damp and mould. tenants, housing providers, statutory bodies need to find ways to make reporting and monitoring easier and to ensure that work is prioritised so that nobody suffers the indignity of living in a human that is unfit for human habitation. A realisation of the cost of this was also recognised with the urgent need to ensure that funding was available to undertake such a huge problem that has been neglected by society for too long.
This was the first of 3 Housing Summits we are offering this year the second on the new consumer regulation standards will be held on the 14th of June and places can be booked online through Tpas.