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Mould and Damp - Ombudsman launches probes into landlords

Social housing, believed by some to be superior to private rental, is under the spotlight as two major landlords are to be investigated by the Housing Ombudsman.

They are L&Q and Haringey’s Labour-controlled council, which have been accused by the Ombudsman of “persistent poor performance over damp and mould complaints.”

L&Q featured in the Housing Ombudsman’s 2021 damp and mould report, with maladministration findings in 50 per cent of its damp and mould cases. 


The organisation also has 32 open cases with the Ombudsman that have been identified as high risk and involve complaints handling, the handling of damp, mould and leaks reports, or both issues.

The Ombudsman upheld nearly half of L&Q’s cases determined since April 2021 where complaints handling or leaks, damp and mould formed part of the investigation and over a third of the remaining cases were acknowledged during the landlord’s complaint process to having been poorly handled by the landlord.

For Haringey council, the Ombudsman has 13 open cases identified as high risk and involving leaks, damp and mould. Furth

It has upheld more than three-quarters of cases determined since April 2021 where leaks, damp and mould formed part of the investigation.

Ombudsman Richard Blakeway says: “After repeated failures in the past year by both of these landlords, we’ve seen a high number of cases concerning the landlords identified as high risk. Under the circumstances, I’ve asked my team to expedite these investigations.

“Other cases with us concern similar issues and may indicate a repeated failing. Conducting a further investigation, using our systemic powers under paragraph 49 of the Scheme to identify areas for both landlords to learn and improve, is therefore required.

“At the end of the monitoring period, we will publish a learning report highlighting any issues we have identified in the cases investigated and make recommendations to the landlords where appropriate.”

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  • icon

    What about a probe into tenant lifestyles and behaviour - failure to adhere to tenancy agreement requirements to keep the property heated and ventilated, drying clothes inside etc.?

    A programme on Scottish TV last night made the excellent point that excessive showering and washing clothes after every wear contributed massively to dampness, condensation and mould.

    Before central heating, many rooms were totally unheated but without the problems blamed now on energy poverty instead of lifestyle.

    Perhaps it's because then we only bathed and washed clothes once a week?


    Sunday was bath night, Monday was washing day, did we smell by Saturday? no

  • icon

    Generally it's social housing where the problems are here, old 60s built precast concrete blocks of flats well past there sell by date, very slow to respond to tenant complaints, and of course the very kind of people that they tend to take on as tenants now. Most of us private landlords tend to respond quicker as we don't want to give the tenant the excuse to stop paying the rent, I've had 3 call outs this week, an immersion heater, a bathroom light fitting, and a front door damaged by someone trying to break in using a crow bar, all attended to next day.

  • icon

    The science is clear, the majority of mould issues are down to the occupation by the tenant, we know it, the government know it and I suspect most tenants know it…. Why do we keep getting blamed for it 🤔

  • icon

    Have to say, of all the many annoyances, this is the worst. Damp and mould caused by condensation is caused by lack of ventilation and occupant lifestyle. Leaks are a completely separate problem which needs to be investigated and repaired.

  • icon

    I've just made a complaint about Homes4Haringey, because I discovered that when there has been an overpayment on our service charges it has been put into an account (apparently under individual names) but not used to offset the following years charges. I discovered this by chance and when I began asking questions i.e. how much was is in my account and why I'd never received a statement for it in the 44 years I've been a leaseholder, I was ignored. I then put in a formal complaint and had to fight to get it recognised as such and be given a case number. The Stage 1 adjudication ignored the questions I raised and to get to Stage 2 I made three attempts. I only succeed when I threatened to go direct to the Housing Ombudsman. There are approximately 6,500 leaseholders and of these one third are landlords. If each leaseholder has only £200 in their surplus/overpayments account then the grand total would be £1,00,300!!!!

  • icon

    BBC website has an article from a Bristol woman complaint about the iniquity of renting from a private landlord. Obviously full of the usual euphemisms and shows an example of mould in her flat. Unfortunately it's the inside of her SHOWER ! HURRY UP AND COMPLAIN before they replace the image.

  • George Dawes

    'Social housing, believed by some to be superior to private rental,'


    what a joke


    Agree 😂 that was a particular funny moment, it cheered me up.


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