Commercialisation, Damp and mould, Health and Safety, Safe Homes, Sanctuary Housing

Sanctuary Shamed Over Unfit Homes

Look out for sneezing, a runny nose, inflamed eyes, skin rashes, asthma (breathing difficulties which can be fatal), and allergic reactions. All these symptoms can occur from contact with mould spores which develop in damp and poorly ventilated conditions, so could point to a problem in your home.

These symptoms will most severely affect younger and older people, those with existing skin or breathing problems such as eczema and asthma. They are also more severe and serious in and people whose immune system is already weakened, for example because they are receiving treatment for cancer.

In short, the NHS advises that “people should stay away from damp and mould”, particularly if they fall into the vulnerable categories. It’s good guidance, but not always possible.

So given the serious risk that dampness and mould pose to health, you would expect a landlord to act swiftly to address problems before they compromise the health of residents. But unfortunately, not if your landlord is Sanctuary Housing.

One resident for example reported “I’ve taken to emailing them, but they’re ignoring my emails, and my calls don’t even seem to be logged”.

The photo shows condensation pooled on the windowsill.

When contact was eventually made, Sanctuary’s response was to offer a visit from a member of staff and some antibacterial wash. Wholly inadequate for the scale of the problem.

Sanctuary Ducks Responsibility

Sanctuary is a large landlord, with over 100,000 homes, and has a big responsibility to ensure that tenants are safe. But it’s hard to imagine that Craig Moule has much empathy with the plight of those struggling to breathe in a mould-infested Sanctuary home. Moule is, incidentally, the fifth highest earning housing association boss and is on a salary of over £314,000 per year.

Nor is the landlord in a position to plead poverty for failing to provide decent, safe homes for residents. Its surplus after tax was over £53 million in 2018/19, and its underlying operating surplus performed even better, reaching £182.6 million. This led chief executive Craig Moule and chair Andrew Manning-Cox to boast of Sanctuary’s “strong financial performance” (Inside Housing).

Tackling Damp and Mould Problems

Tenants and residents should always report dampness and particularly mould to their landlord. It is helpful to take photographs of the problem, and date these for later reference, as well ask making sure you can easily find any email correspondence.

However, in some cases, following the landlord’s internal procedures won’t work. In this instance, with Sanctuary failing to log the calls, they hope to deny any knowledge of the problem. The answer in such situations can only lie in raising our voices to make sure that such organisations are forced to accept their responsibility for providing safe housing for all residents.

Join us for the SHAC online Safer Homes conference:

Housing associations too often fail to provide the safe, secure homes that people need. Landlord complaints procedures don’t work. They are deliberately exhausting, demotivating, and fruitless. But we are not powerless; we can organise collectively to bring about improvements.

  • SHAC Safer Homes Conference
  • 6pm, Thursday 28th January 2021
  • by Zoom – email shac.action@gmail.com to register

4 January 2021

Sources

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