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Housing Campaigners welcome new scheme to tackle scourge of mouldy homes

A NEW initiative to clamp down on London’s notoriously damp and mouldy homes has been welcomed by campaigners.

Generation Rent said Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s announcement that more officials will be trained to tackle the problem was a “crucial step towards healthier private rented homes.”

Nationally, Londoners are disproportionately likely to be defined as “vulnerable,” with 18 per cent of privately rented homes in the capital failing to meet the national Decent Homes Standard and more than 178,000 private rented properties in the capital classified as “non-decent.”

An investigation by Generation Rent revealed that 28 per cent of “category 1” housing hazards reported to councils — the most serious — were due to damp and mould-related complaints over the 12 months to March 2022.

Yesterday Mr Khan announced the initiative to train more environmental health officers to tackle the scourge.

He also urged the government to double rent repayment orders if landlords fail to fix faulty homes — potentially forcing the worst offenders to pay back tenants up to £63,000 — describing the Tories’ Autumn Statement “a missed opportunity to clamp down on sub-par housing.”

Generation Rent chief executive Ben Twomey said: “Environmental health officers play a vital role in identifying the causes of a home’s damp problem and instructing the landlord to put it right.

“It’s very welcome to see London’s councils upskill more officers through this important mayoral initiative, which is a crucial step towards healthier private rented homes.”

Housing campaigner Kwajo Tweneboa said: “The issue with mould in our homes has existed for generations but cannot continue.”

He backed the mayor’s call for the stronger deterrent for landlords to reimburse rents and for the government to scrap section 21 “no-fault evictions” — long promised in the Tories’ Renters (Reform) Bill.
 

Caroline Russell, Green London Assembly member, told the Morning Star: “If the mayor wants to tackle the root causes of cold, damp and mouldy homes, he should ensure London's retrofit programmes provide advice to residents on heat, ventilation and energy use, are multi-measure and take account of overcrowding worsening condensation.
“While it’s great to see investment in local authorities’ ability to check up on the standard of private rental homes, it’s been nearly five years since my environment committee report, ‘Keeping Out the Chill’ was published and only a fraction of our recommendations have been taken up. The mayor must do more for London's renters.”

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