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District Dispatch - 14 December 2022

Recently, you may have become aware of the heart-breaking death of Awaab Ishak, through the reporting of the recent inquest into this tragedy.

District dispatch 1

The two-year-old died in 2020, after exposure to mould in his house in Rochdale. This is something that has shocked everyone across the country.

Due to this, we thought it was really important to remind people how to deal with damp and mould and highlight where you can seek help if the problem persists. During the winter months, our homes can often suffer from damp and mould due to condensation. This is caused by moisture released into the air from everyday tasks, such as cooking, showering, and drying clothes. You can reduce the moisture in the air by ventilating rooms; drying clothes outside; placing lids on saucepans; wiping down surfaces where moisture settles; making sure that air vents aren't blocked; and keeping your home warm.

However, this isn't the only cause of damp. Penetrating damp, which can be caused by leaking pipes or overflows; rain seeping through the roof where tiles or slates are missing; or blocked gutters, is another cause. Rising damp, which can be caused by a defective, or a lack of, damp-proof course, also causes mould to appear. We have produced a leaflet, which offers more detailed advice on mould and how to tackle it (PDF) [5MB] .

If you rent your home and are experiencing issues with damp and mould, please report this to your landlord as soon as possible. If the problem worsens, or you don't hear back from your landlord within the response time indicated when you reported it, please contact our housing team for help and advice by emailing or by calling 01243 534565.

All landlords have an obligation to meet certain housing standards to ensure that their tenants' homes are safe, secure, clean and in good condition. You can find more information about these expectations and the standards rented properties should meet with our lettable standards leaflet (PDF) [1MB] . If you do have concerns, please make sure that you take action as soon as you can. It's important that what happened to Awaab never happens again.

In positive news, I'm pleased to tell you that a joint project with Arun District Council has helped to reduce the number of privately rented properties classed as 'cold homes' in both Chichester and Arun districts.

Last autumn, both of our councils made a joint bid for government funding so that they could support landlords to carry out works in order for their properties to meet the Government's new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) (opens new window). The project targeted properties with an Energy rating of F or G because these are properties which are not legally allowed to be privately let. Any property being privately let as a home must be rated at E or above.

Officers identified 139 properties across the two districts which did not meet the new standards and over the past year they have been working with a number of landlords to help them comply. This has involved work such as installing double-glazing, replacing boilers and increasing insulation. I'm especially pleased that this work has been completed in time for the winter, when priority groups, such as older people and young children, are more at risk from the cold. 

Finally, we have also agreed to spend £47,500 from a . As part of the year-long pilot, we will refer up to 20 clients to Beam, a social enterprise organisation, which specialises in helping people who have experienced long-term issues with gaining employment.

Best Wishes

Cllr Eileen Lintill

Leader of Chichester District Council