The inquiry concluded that a two-year-old boy, Awaab Ishak, died as a result of widespread mould in his “social housing” flat. He died on 21st December 2020 and his family lived on the freehold estate in Rochdale.
Awaab was admitted to the hospital on 19th December that year and was discharged the next morning. He returned to the hospital the next day where his condition worsened and suffered a cardiac arrest brought on by respiratory failure.
The coroner found that he met with death as a result of severe respiratory syndrome due to prolonged mould exposure just a few days before Christmas 2020, and after his second birthday. The landlord ignored their complaints and failed to rectify, repair or treat mould.
Awaab father, Faisal Abdullah, who came to the UK in 2015 as an asylum-seeking from Sudan, claims that when Awaab became ill in his house, he felt ‘completely trapped.’ Mr. Abdullah had repeatedly complained about damp and mould to his landlord, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) from 2017.
However, RBH refused to take action and he was told repeatedly to paint over it. In 2020, the RBH was once again informed about the problem, but nothing was done to stop the mould. The family pleaded with doctors and residential owners for help because Awaab had difficulty breathing.
After six days of evidence in the Rochdale Coroners Court, Coroner Joanne Kearsley on 15th November 2022, concluded that the medical advice given to Awaab’s family She said: “I am sure I am not alone in asking how does this does happen? How in the UK in 2020 does a two-year-old child die from exposure to mould in his home”. The coroner further commented that “The tragic death of Awaab will and should be a defining moment for the housing sector in terms of increasing knowledge, increasing awareness and a deepening of understanding surrounding the issue of damp and mould.”
After the inquiry, Awaab’s family said, “We still cannot get our head around the fact that despite all of the complaints we made to RBH, in addition to the information RBH received from an NHS member of staff expressing their concern for Awaab due to mould at the property, RBH did absolutely nothing to rectify the severe mould in our property.”
They also said, ‘We cannot tell you how many health professionals we’ve cried in front and RBH staff we have pleaded to express concern for the conditions ourselves and Awaab have been living in. We shouted out as loudly as we could, but despite making all of those efforts, every night we would be coming back to the same problem. Nothing was changing.”
They went on to say that “Awaab’s coughing fits would sometimes last two to three days. There were days we wouldn’t be able to take Awaab out of the house because of how bad his coughing was – but of course, his staying in the house, made his coughing worse.
We were absolutely trapped” They had a message for RBH “stop discriminating, stop being racist, stop providing unfair treatment to people coming from abroad who are refugees or asylum seekers, stop housing people in homes you know are unfit for human habitation. We were left feeling absolutely worthless at the hands of RBH.”
Awaab’s parents, Faisal Abdullah and Aisha Amin came to the UK from Sudan for better living. If you have been affected by this article and are in a similar situation then please contact our specialist housing disrepair solicitors.
Our Solicitors work nationally and are specialists in forcing landlords to carry out the work and getting you compensation for the inconvenience caused to you and your health. There are laws that should protect people like Awaab who are living in social or council housing but the reality is there are far too many living in the same conditions as Awaab did and their social or council housing landlords are not doing anything about it or taking complaints seriously.
We have heard that the main response from RBH was that the damp and mould were caused by the “tenant’s lifestyle”, which means they have caused the health issues themselves by creating excessive moisture inside the property by doing things like drying clothes indoors, showering and bathing and having many people living in the property where they breathe out moisture.
The theory is that all of that creates moisture in the atmosphere and RBH is saying that Awaab’s family should have used the heating more and opened the windows more to remove the moisture.
Unfortunately, this “tenant’s lifestyle” defence is used time and time again when a claim is made against social and council housing landlords and tenants need a Solicitor who can help fight that argument. If you are faced with these issues contact SLS Solicitors at 01616975959 or email us at email@example.com.
We have many clients who have been complaining to their landlords for years and nothing gets done. They then feel the need to reach out to Solicitors to help them make a claim and only then do the landlords take action. This is unacceptable as the landlords should not let it get that far to the point of desperation.
We agree with the Coroner and take damp and mould very seriously, on these cases we send out an expert surveyor for free to your home immediately to carry out an inspection of your home and provide us with a report, we work on a no-win no fee policy so it won’t cost you a penny to start your disrepair claim today.
A housing disrepair claim is a claim against your landlord for not carrying out repairs to your home as part of their obligation within your tenancy agreement. Sections 9 to 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (LTA85) set out their obligation and confirm the implied terms which they are not allowed to contract out from. This means if repair is the Landlord’s obligation, they have to do it. If you are unsure call SLS Solicitors at 01616975959 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The most common disrepair your landlord is obliged to repair are:
- Faulty Windows/Doors
- Water leak
- Roof issues
- Structural Cracks
- Heating issues
- Electrical issues
- Unfit for human habitation
- Sanitary issues
- Pointing/rendering issues
- Extractor fans
- Insect/Vermin issues
If your landlord is refusing to carry out work, you may be able to claim Thousands in compensation for the inconvenience caused by any exacerbation to your health and loss of belongings. If your health has severely been affected you may be eligible to start a personal injury claim. Call us at 01616975959 or email us at email@example.com