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Daily demands new law to stop children dying from damp and mould

A regional daily is demanding a new law to prevent children from dying due to damp and mouldy social housing.

The Manchester Evening News has launched a petition calling for the introduction of ‘Awaab’s Law’ in memory of Awaab Ishak, after a coroner ruled the two-year-old died as a direct result of prolonged exposure to damp and mould.

The campaign comes after MEN journalist Stephen Topping uncovered a string of cases of children who had fallen seriously ill in similar housing conditions on Rochdale’s Freehold estate, run by RBH, where Awaab lived with his family prior to his death in December 2020.

‘Awaab’s Law’ would compel housing associations “not to allow any other child, or anyone else, to live in the uninhabitable conditions like the toddler suffered for so long”.

MEN Awaab

The proposed law would also give social landlords seven days to begin work to repair a property if a medical professional believes there is a risk to a tenant’s health.

The petition has been launched in association with housing charity Shelter and comes after the conclusion of the inquest into Awaab’s death, at held Rochdale Coroners Court, on which the MEN splashed yesterday (16).

In an accompanying editorial, the MEN said: “Awaab’s Law will also ensure bids for new social housing properties are treated as a high priority if a medical professional has recommended a tenant moves home after identifying a risk to health at their existing property.

“It will also mandate social landlords to provide all tenants with information on their rights, how to make a complaint and what standards they can expect under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, provided in simple English or the language a tenant is most proficient in.

“We are also calling for MPs and peers to support The Social Housing Regulation Bill that is currently going through parliament. If approved, it would bring back regulation on consumer standards for social housing.

“The petition is also urging for the bill to be strengthened with the use of Ofsted-style inspections at short notice and increased professionalism of housing management to improve the experience of tenants, including those living with damp and mould.”