THURROCK council is moving in the right direction in tackling mouldy properties but still has almost 600 affected homes, a report has revealed.
In June, Thurrock Council’s housing overview and scrutiny committee called for an update on problems with mouldy and damp homes let by the authority after concerns were raised about some mould hot spots like flats in Blackshots.
The report shows overall by 2020/21 the council had actually reduced incidences by 42 per cent since 2015/16 but that still meant 584 individual properties were affected by damp and mould.
In her report, Susan Cardozo, Strategic Lead Assets, Repairs and Compliance, said: “Since reporting in June 2021 the time frames for attendance, when a report of damp and mould is received from a resident, have been reduced.
“Our responsive repairs contactor will now attend on the initial inspection within five working days with required works completed within a 15 working day time frame. This is to ensure that the length of time a resident is living with damp and or mould within their property is reduced.”
Councillors had also raised concerns tenants themselves were sometimes blamed for damp properties but Ms Cardozo added: “In June 2021 members of this committee raised the matter of how advice was delivered to residents. We are seeking to assure members that the messages and advice that we give to residents is not given in a manner that is seeking to appoint accountability, but in a supportive manner that will help them in preventing condensation related mould where applicable.
“Consideration is given to the cost of heating a home. It is recognised that a significant number of residents experience fuel poverty and resident liaison officers are now trained in fuel poverty assessments and have been talking to residents about how to manage their energy bills.”
Committee member Joycelyn Redsell, Conservative councillor for Little Thurrock Blackshots, previously branded conditions in three 1959-built blocks in her ward as “disgusting”. She welcomed assurance that the issue was improving. She said: “Covid has had a bit to do with this problem and we haven’t moved as far forward as we should be but its moving in the right direction.
“We have some buildings that really need to come down. As we are landlords we should be on top of it and I will be asking questions at the next meeting.”
Councillors will discuss the issue on Tuesday.