Our new self-service damp, mould and condensation (DMC) online form has now been launched, so tenants can tell us quickly and easily about their concerns without having to call us. The form supports a new process that we put in place at the beginning of October to help us connect with our tenants and understand their concerns and needs.
The recent tragic news from Rochdale, where a young child died as a result of damp and mould in his housing association home, has made it very clear that improvements need to be made throughout the housing sector in the way problems with DMC are handled. As a responsible landlord, we have been looking at ways to improve how we work with tenants around their DMC concerns for over a year, and our process has changed and improved significantly during this time.
Using the new self-service online form our tenants can provide us with the details we need to assess their DMC issue. As well as telling us what we need to know, this also gives us an opportunity to check in with them and find out if there are other areas of support that we can offer. For example, if they are having financial problems that mean they can’t heat their home to a sufficient temperature to help prevent condensation building up in their home - an important way to avoid condensation, the most common cause of damp and mould - we can also offer the opportunity to talk to our Inclusion and Wellbeing Specialist about financial wellbeing, to see if we can support ways to keep their home warm.
The next step is to tackle the DMC: this might be as simple as sending out a pack to measure moisture levels in the home, or it may mean a visit from one of our Technical Officers (TO) who can inspect homes in more detail. We treat every case individually, and with care and consideration for our tenants.
If a TO visits a home where DMC has been reported, they make a detailed and thorough assessment of every room in the home, measuring moisture levels, using thermal imaging cameras, and working with the tenant to establish a plan to resolve the problem. Tenants are involved and kept informed throughout, so no tenant is left without a response to their concerns.
Also, with the information we're gathering through this process, we expect to be able to predict which homes may be more susceptible to DMC - meaning we can take action before it becomes an issue for our tenants.
We will continue to look for ways to improve our approach to DMC but are confident that our tenants are already benefitting from this new, more thoughtful and robust process.