Ministers announced a review of homeowners’ guidance on the health risks of dampness and mold following the death of a young child.
Two-year-old Awaab Ishak died of respiratory ailment caused by mold in his one-bedroom housing association flat in Rochdale, Manchester, where he lived with his parents, Faisal Abdullah and Aisha Amin, in December 2020.
Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH), the owner of the flat, had its funding cut after it was revealed that Awaab had made £170,000 the year he died, and its CEO, Gareth Swarbrick, was fired.
In response to a coroner’s decision in November that Awaab died from mold, ministers Michael Gove and Steve Barclay identified five areas of concern.
They want to review the housing health and safety rating system as well as update the current guidance for social housing to include moisture and mold.
They also said that the residential sector does not have easy access to health information on moisture and mold, the private homeowners sector does not have access to the Housing Ombudsman, and that a policy between housing associations means they wait for their tenants’ complaints to be resolved before they fix it. neglect
Mr. Gove said: “The death of Awaab Ishak was a tragedy that should never have happened. People all over the country were horrified to hear of the terrible conditions that led to it.
“Awaab’s case has sharply highlighted the need for every landlord in the country to take action again to ensure their tenants are housed in decent homes and are treated with dignity and fairness.”
An investigation into Awaab’s death was concluded in November, after which senior coroner Joanne Kearsley said: “‘How does this happen? How does a two-year-old boy die from exposure to mold in his home in the UK in 2020?’
“Awaab’s tragic death will and should be a defining moment for the residential sector in terms of increased knowledge, increased awareness and deepening understanding surrounding the damp and mold problem.”
In his findings, the coroner described Awaab as “an engaging, lively, lovely two-year-old.”
He said that in 2017, Abdullah reported mold growth in his Tweedale Street apartment to RBH and was told to paint over it.
In June 2020, Mr Abdullah instructed lawyers and filed a claim regarding the recurring problem, but the policy meant that no repairs would be made until an agreement was reached, investigation has been heard.
Awaab was taken to the Rochdale Emergency Care Center on 19 December complaining of shortness of breath and was transferred to Royal Oldham Hospital before being discharged.
The child’s condition deteriorated the next day and his family was advised by the Community Child Care Team to return the child to the Rochdale Urgent Care Center.
He suffered respiratory arrest and then cardiac arrest while being transported to Oldham, where he died.