The UK is facing a “mould epidemic” as householders turn down heating and open windows less in a bid to cut energy costs, experts have warned.
Latest figures show that the problem is already escalating in the social housing sector. The Housing Ombudsman Service has received 3,350 complaints about damp, mould and leaks in the past year, up from 1,993 in 2021-20.
A spokesperson for the National Association of Property Buyers told the Daily Mail that mould infestations were “bad enough most years, but this year, with the pressure on many people’s budgets, it looks set to be worse than ever for many”.
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As the cost-of-living crisis bites, the spokesperson said, households may be “tempted to turn down heating and open windows less, to conserve precious heat”, resulting in “increased dampness in homes already prone to it”. And as “mortgages, repairs and maintenance costs have also shot up”, some landlords may be less likely to carry out vital improvements, fuelling the mould epidemic.
A coroner said earlier this month that the death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak – who died as a result of a severe respiratory condition after prolonged exposure to mould in his family’s Rochdale flat – should be a “defining moment” for the UK’s housing sector, reported The Manc.
A woman who is suing her landlord in a test case told The Guardian that she had a potentially terminal lung disease which medical experts believed was probably triggered by mould in her rented home. The unnamed woman said the government should empower tenants to take rogue landlords to court and “hit them in the wallet”.
According to the NHS, “if you have damp and mould in your home you're more likely to have respiratory problems, respiratory infections, allergies or asthma”.
Signs of mould include “fuzzy black, white or green patches on the walls”, and a “damp and musty smell”, said the BBC.
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