Too many social housing tenants in Wales ‘at risk’ due to mould and damp in their homes

Mould can affect peoples’ health, property and social lives

People who live in social housing in Wales are at an increased risk of having mould and damp in their homes.

TPAS, a government-funded housing organisation, said this was because social housing tenants often have to choose between heating their homes or eating in the winter months.

They said mould thrives in the cold and damp environment created by tenants not being able to heat their homes.

Mould can cause allergic reactions and health issues for people who live amongst it according to The NHS.

Symptoms a person may experience are:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Red eyes
  • Skin rash
  • Difficulty breathing/ wheezing
  • Mould can also cause asthma attacks and in severe cases, a lung infection

How do I know if I have mould in my house?

Mould can look fuzzy and black, white or green. It appears on patches on the walls but can spread to furniture and clothes. Mould has a damp and musty smell.

David Wilton, the Chief Executive of TPAS Cymru says mould is a “pan-Wales issue” due to the country having a lot of older social houses that are not insulated and that have structural leaks.

People who are struggling in Wales have two choices, they can go without food or go without heating and when people go without heating, mould begins to grow.

David Wilton, Chief Executive of TPAS Cymru

TPAS runs a tenant survey of housing conditions every year that consists of around 1,000 people, this year’s survey found 40% of tenants say they have mould in their homes.

Mould does not only affect peoples’ health but also has knock-on effects. TPAS Cymru said they see that people isolate themselves if they have it in their house as they are less likely to invite people over or they won’t allow their children to have friends around.

The smell of mould also lingers on peoples’ clothes and can even ruin personal clothing and belongings.

Last year, the Welsh Government wrote to social landlords “seeking urgent assurance” on how they monitor and respond to damp and mould problems.

This was after a coroner’s report found that a toddler had died in Rochdale from a respiratory condition caused by damp and mould in his home.

TPAS Cymru said that tenants should not suffer in silence if they do have mould in their house and that they should contact their landlord or the ombudsman.