Death of Awaab Ishak: Michael Gove announces that the housing charity which owned the flat where the toddler was killed will be deprived of new government funding |  Political news

Death of Awaab Ishak: Michael Gove announces that the housing charity which owned the flat where the toddler was killed will be deprived of new government funding | Political news

The housing charity which owned the flat where toddler Awaab Ishak died from exposure to mold will be cut off from any new government funding, Michael Gove has announced.

The Housing Secretary has said Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) will not receive its planned £1million Affordable Housing Program (AHP) funding or receive new AHP contracts for new homes until the housing regulator social will not have completed its investigation and the association can prove it is a responsible owner.

Ministers will also continue to closely monitor accommodation standards at RBH properties, working with the regulator and ombudsman to ensure tenants have appropriate accommodation.

As part of a wider crackdown on poor standards in social housing, Mr Gove also confirmed its intention to block any housing provider that violates the regulator’s consumption standards from new AHP funding until it makes improvements.

It will also consider depriving suppliers of existing AHP funding unless construction has already started on the site.

Last week a the coroner ruled that Awaab, two, died of a respiratory illness caused by mold in a T2 in December 2020 managed by the RBH association.

The housing body admitted it was ‘seriously mistaken’ and said it had started taking ‘immediate action’.

Awaab’s parents, originally from Sudan, had repeatedly complained about mould.

His family accused the housing association of racism, saying there was ‘no doubt’ they had been ‘treated in this way’ because they were not from the UK.

The toddler’s death has sparked anger at the poor condition of the home he and his family have been forced to live in – leading to RBH chief executive Gareth Swarbrick sacked.

In response to Awaab’s death, Mr Gove put social hosts “on notice” and said it ‘must never happen again’, in a letter to all English council leaders and social housing providers

He said all housing councils and associations need to raise the bar of standards dramatically and demanded urgent action where people complain of dampness and mould.

The government today granted a £14billion share to seven areas with large numbers of poor private rental accommodation to crack down on rogue landlords and test new approaches to raising standards.

This includes £2.3m for Greater Manchester – including Rochdale and surrounding councils – to increase the use of fines when a landlord is found to have committed an offence; £678,000 for Leeds to use behavioral science to change landlord culture and £1.1million for Cornwall to create a database of private rental accommodation in the area.

Mr Gove said: ‘RBH has let down its tenants so it won’t get a dime more of taxpayers money for new housing until it gets its act together and gives tenants right .

“Let this be a warning to other housing providers who are ignoring complaints and failing to meet their obligations to tenants. We will not hesitate to act.

“Everyone deserves the right to live in safe and decent housing and this government will always act to protect tenants.”

The social housing regulator this week asked all housing associations and local authority landlords for evidence showing they identify and address damp and mold problems in their homes – and the government says the regulator will take measures where standards are not met.

Shadow Housing Secretary Lisa Nandy said rules to protect private tenants must also be both enforced and strengthened.

“It is right to stand up to failing social landlords, but there is no excuse not to show the same respect for millions of private tenants who live in squalid and dangerous conditions and are evicted if they dare to complain. “, she said.

“After years of broken promises, the government has taken no action to tighten the rules to protect these families. There is political consensus on this, so there is no excuse for further delay.”

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