Damp & mould image
Damp & mould image

In recent weeks, I have been contacted by families in Plymouth who are understandably concerned about the issue of damp and mould in their homes.

Too many families in Plymouth are living in damp, mouldy conditions and a cold winter could lead to a spike in mould problems as damp is more likely in homes that are excessively cold and expensive to heat.

With energy bills going through the roof, this is becoming a growing problem. A recent study suggested almost one in four adults in the UK would not switch on the heating at all this winter.

Damp and mould can adversely affect your health and lead to respiratory infections and illnesses. NHS England spends £1.3 billion a year on treating preventable illnesses caused by cold and damp homes.

Below is some useful information on the avenues open to those having issues with damp and mould:

Advice on damp and mould

This video from the brilliant Plymouth Energy Community highlights some of the key ways to prevent damp and mould in your home, and suggests things to look out for when you are experiencing issues, such as cracks in the wall or grouting issues.

Whilst it is important that we take all the steps we can to prevent damp and mould, there are many issues which occur in properties which need rectifying by the owner of a property.

If you’re in social housing

Occupiers of social housing (for example, Plymouth Community Homes or Livewest properties) should follow the housing provider’s internal process for raising repair requests. This means raising this with your Housing Officer in the first instance, or logging a repair request through in the usual way.

If you are struggling to obtain a response from your housing association, or there have been delays in works being completed, my team are able to follow these up with your landlord so please contact me if you need some help with this.

Where you do not receive a satisfactory response, you should use the housing provider’s internal complaints procedure. Your Housing Officer will be able to give details of this, or there may be some information on your landlord’s website.

If you continue to receive an unsatisfactory response, you can raise this with the Social Housing Ombudsman – there is some information on their website here. My team are able to support with requests through the Ombudsman.

If you’re in privately rented accommodation

The first step you should take when you are experiencing issues in your property is to raise it with your landlord, or the agency you rent through, to give them the opportunity to rectify the situation. If you feel they have not done so, there are some further steps you can take.

If you rent your property through an agency (or deal with a manager who is not the owner of the property), they are legally required to belong to a redress scheme. This information should be available on their website, or can be requested directly from them. The redress scheme is an independent party and will be able to look at the concerns you have raised.

If you feel the service that a scheme member has provided falls short of what is expected, you may be able to raise a complaint. The two schemes are The Property Ombudsman and the Property Redress Scheme – there is more information on their websites.

If the agent or manager is not in a redress scheme, you can refer your case to Trading Standards – there is more information on the Plymouth Trading Standards website.

In all of these situations, my team may be able to help to follow up your concerns with your landlord, agency, a redress scheme or Trading Standards so if you need some support with this, then please get in touch with my office.

If you need further support

Where the above information does not relate to your housing circumstance, or where further action is required, Plymouth City Council may be able to intervene. They operate a Housing Improvement Service which can provide support, advice in guidance in line with your own situation and needs.

You can request support through the Plymouth City Council website using this link.

If you are having an issue with mould and damp in your home, I am here to help where I can. Please get in touch with me at luke.pollard.mp@parliament.uk or by calling 01752 717255 and my brilliant casework team will get in touch.

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