District Council approves two new policies to ensure the continued safety of tenants

Posted on: Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Two policies, Building Safety in the Home and Damp and Mould, approved by the District Council, will ensure the continued safety of tenants in their homes by providing a customer-centred approach.

Following the Housing Ombudsman’s ‘Spotlight on Damp and Mould’ in 2021 and following the introduction of the Social Housing Bill in July 2023, the District Council have undertaken a full review of their damp and mould policy and procedures. The updated policy includes the 27 recommendations from the Housing Ombudsman’s review and a more customer-centred approach.

The policy outlines how the District Council will respond swiftly and effectively to reports of damp and mould, identify homes liable to experience damp and mould and put solutions in place to prevent the occurrence in the first place.

Councillor Lee Brazier, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “We take our responsibility to preventing damp and mould in tenant’s homes incredibly seriously and I am pleased we are able to introduce an update to our policy to help tackle this issue. As part of our new approach, we will use every opportunity to communicate with tenants about preventing and treating damp and mould and encourage them to report any concerns to us as soon as they can. We are conducting regular training for colleagues taking calls and visiting homes, ensuring teams are equipped with the correct knowledge and equipment, providing tenants with clear timelines for inspecting and responding to issues of damp and mould and supporting tenants to identify issues at the earliest opportunity.

“In addition, over the last year we commenced a programme of surveying all our council owned homes to understand future investment needs as well as identifying properties that are likely to suffer from damp and mould so  work programmes can be designed that reduce the likelihood of this happening. If you are a tenant of the Council and have any repairs or concerns, please do contact us as soon as possible.

“In November 2022, the Regulator of Social Housing sent a letter to all social housing providers seeking information and assurances on our approach to tackling damp and mould. Our response was well received, including the changes we proposed to this policy.”

In addition, the District Council has introduced a new Building Safety in the Home policy, which set out clearly for tenants and leaseholders how the District Council services support them to stay safe in their homes.

It outlines the District Council’s responsibilities in providing tenants with a safe and decent home and the tenants responsibilities that support the District Council to achieve this. The policy also includes information on how tenants can scrutinise the service they receive, either around Building Safety, or more generally.

Councillor Brazier continues: “Our Building Safety in the Home policy is crucial in helping us and our tenants work together to ensure our homes are safe. The policy includes a table that sets out all activities and responsibilities for us, our tenants, and leaseholders to  understand what the responsibilities are and the role everyone takes to make it work.. This includes gas safety checks, electrical safety checks, damp and mould surveys, fire door inspections, fire risk assessment and water safety checks, to name a few.

“A copy of the policy will be available on our website and posted on the notice board in each block so tenants and leaseholders can access this information easily.”

Both policies were discussed and endorsed by the District Council’s Local Influence Networks which are led by tenants.

Councillor Brazier concludes: “It is great news that we have approved these two policies for District Council tenants. Safety is our biggest priority, and we will always strive to improve our services where we can. Our improved approaches to damp and mould and building safety are an example of this.”