19 December 2022
Summary:An update for residents on MTVH’s approach to tackling damp and mould.
We wanted to provide an update for residents and customers on the work we are doing to ensure all the people we provide homes to live somewhere that is safe, warm, and dry.
We are committed to providing homes that are decent, safe, and affordable. Residents rightly expect to receive responsive services and to be listened to and treated with respect by their housing provider. We take any report of dissatisfaction extremely seriously and work across our teams to fix issues quickly. This is at the heart of our approach, and is what drives the improvements we are making to better serve residents every day.
MTVH colleagues were shocked and troubled by the devastating news of the tragic death of Awaab Ishak due to the appalling conditions he and his family had to endure. There are no excuses for the conditions Awaab and his family lived in, or for the lack of support they received. There is much to be learned from this tragic case, and it must mark a turning point for the sector, as the Coroner made clear.
MTVH has recently taken steps to make changes to reduce the risks of damp and mould to the people we provide homes to.
- Taken a zero-tolerance approach to damp and mould. In April 2022, we re-wrote our damp and mould policy and procedure following a review of current process and cases.
- Created a new £1.5m fund specifically to address damp and mould.
- Implemented a new policy where cases are assigned to a named member of the team, who is then in a stronger position to provide oversight and ensure that the issue is resolved.
- Ensured a 12-month review to check that interventions weren’t just short-term fixes, but has actually addressed the root of the issue.
- Made damp and mould everyone’s business – with every colleague, supplier, or contractor who visits a home being trained on clear guidance to identify and raise issues with damp and mould.
- Invested in new diagnostic kit to agree plans of action with residents, supported by measurable data.
- Listened to residents, and developed new communications materials to support residents affected whilst we get things fixed.
- Recruited a new Senior Surveyor dedicated to damp and mould case management.
This approach is supported through an extensive investment programme in existing homes of more than £130m each year.
Importantly, we’ve updated the resident communications we use. This process included engaging with a group of residents to hear their views. We’ve created a special page on our online resident engagement forum, where we’ve published what residents asked to see along with a link to a revised advice and support leaflet. You can access it at https://yourvoice.mtvh.co.uk/damp-and-mould.
Supporting the measures listed above has also been our new more local operating approach. We have listened to residents’ feedback on how we can improve the service they receive, in part by working more closely in communities with colleagues being responsible for smaller neighbourhood ‘patch’ sizes. This new approach has been implemented over the last year, resulting in increased visibility in the community for colleagues, and means we can spot and address issues like damp and mould more quickly, and get things put right.
We have also linked our Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund programme to addressing homes which are harder to heat, and which suffer from cold. In total, these programmes will improve more than 3,000 of our residents’ homes.
Like other housing associations and councils, we do have properties where residents have reported damp, mould, and condensation. We also know that we will continue to have cases reported to us. We will work hard to combat this issue through significant investment, by retrofitting and energy improvement works, and though proactively addressing the issues.
We have taken steps to review, learn and overhaul how we work, upgrade our processes, improve our data and use of systems, and to invest in our people and their training. Most importantly, have worked with residents to make sure we are always taking a person-centred approach and treat all residents with dignity and respect, so that they can live well.
MTVH response to Regulator of Social Housing
Following the Coroner’s verdict on the death of Awaab Ishak, the Regulator of Social Housing wrote to all social housing providers in the country. This letter requested information about providers approach to damp and mould, and to seek assurance that we are addressing risks relating to damp and mould in residents’ homes.
MTVH has responded to this call for information, and you can read a copy of our response by click here.
Contact us if you have a problem with your home
We want to know if you are experiencing any problems with your home. It’s important that residents contact us as soon as possible, so that we can work with you to discuss steps that are needed.
You can report damp and mould online, or call us on:
Phone lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am – 6pm.