mould survey update

Cllr Anne Corbett was instrumental in creating the mould survey for Golden Lane Estate which several of our councillors then conducted door to door. GLERA helped out by putting the survey online. Here’s Anne’s report back to residents at the GLERA residents meeting in February 2023.

IMPORTANT: report incidents of black mould as a repair by calling 0800 035 0003 or emailing 

cllr anne corbett reports back on results of mould survey

Firstly, thanks to GLERA and in particular to the secretary, Jacqueline Swanson, for setting up the online survey for Golden Lane residents and collating the responses which required a considerable amount of time and effort.

  • Cripplegate Common Councillors have been advised that there are no cases of serious black mould in flats on the Golden Lane Estate
  • City of London tenants are advised to report all black mould to the City of London repair line
  • The latest City of London housing Service @Home Housing Newsletter Feb 2023 includes information about the management of black mould
  • The City of London will be sending all residents an information leaflet about black mould – this should arrive through doors in February / March 2023
  • All residents can ask the Golden Lane Estate office for an oil-filled radiator in exchange for a fan heater. However, there is a waiting list due to a shortage of supplies
  • Let your elected members know if you have difficulty getting assistance to remove black mould

The number of social housing tenants in England complaining of damp and leaks is on course to double in the two years since a child died after living in a rented flat with chronic mould. However, less than half of landlords (including the City of London) have introduced policies to tackle the problem. The City of London has systems in place which rely on reports about mould from tenants, social agencies, and contractors.

After the inquest into the two-year-old Awaab Ishak’s death in 2020 there has been a heightened awareness and understandable concern about the long term effects of black mould. The housing ombudsman called for landlords to stop blaming tenants’ laundry, cooking and other ‘lifestyle’ issues for mould. 

The government has recognised the need to strengthen tenants’ rights and will be introducing a bill to parliament. To create Awaab’s law, the government has tabled amendments to the social housing regulation bill. A consultation would be launched this year to set the timeframes within which landlords will have to act to investigate hazards and make repairs. The new rules will form part of the tenancy agreement, so tenants can hold landlords to account by law if they fail to provide a decent home.

Mould is quite common in homes. It can grow on surfaces when moisture is present. Common places are around window frames, in bathrooms and where there are leaks and damp. Babies and children are at particular risk of health effects from mould because of their small airways. Those with respiratory conditions such as asthma and allegories tend to be worse affected, as are people with weakened immune systems.

Buildings should be routinely inspected for water damage and mould. Any source of moisture needs to be dealt with by fixing leaks and dampness, controlling humidity, cleaning, and drying up any flooded areas and ensuring good ventilation. Keeping homes warm and well-ventilated helps because mould thrives in cooler, damp conditions. Small amounts of mould can be dealt with relatively easily, but when mould is growing in carpets, ceiling tiles and on walls, professional services are often needed to remove the contaminated material. Painting over mould is not likely to be effective.

The worst affected blocks in Golden Lane  are Crescent and Stanley Cohen. A group of Cripplegate Common Councillors visited Crescent House on 25 January with senior City officers. We visited three flats and saw evidence of damp and leaks. We were assured by a senior officer that in his professional opinion the visible black mould is not at a dangerous level and unlikely to be harmful. However, he urges residents to report black mould as a repair. He advised us that the City of London is addressing the problem through information to tenants and reports from contractors. In addition, there will be a sample survey/ physical inspection of all City of London social housing this year. He asked us to identify any individual homes that we have concerns about in particular.

Thank you to all the residents who provided information in person and on-line. In total 49 residents responded:

  • The survey confirms that Stanley Cohen and Crescent are in urgent need of new windows to bring homes up to a decent standard
  • The extent of mould varies from a small amount around windows and in bathrooms to extensive amounts in all areas
  • Tenants have reported the black mould issues but have had a varied response from the City of London regarding repairs for damp and mould
  • Some tenants have been given dehumidifiers, some have had repairs but some have reported that their requests have been unheeded. It is a varied picture
  • Most residents personally clean and manage the mould in their homes
  • Residents are concerned about damp and mould and delays in the window replacement programme
  • The information collected from the survey will be passed on to the City of London Housing Dept for inclusion in the sample survey and follow up on repairs
  • All residents will receive an information leaflet – a hard copy through the door
  • The elected members will support individual residents in getting assistance with repairs
  • The elected members will keep up to date with the latest news and information about the effects of black mould

You can find contact details for our elected members here.