A toddler’s death has been blamed on mould inside his family’s rented flat. Awaab Ishak’s condition grew worse and worse before he died four days before Christmas Day 2020. He was just two years old.
His family had begged doctors and housing bosses for help to address the two-year-old’s breathing problems.
Dr Philip Lumb discovered “severe swelling” in Awaab’s airway and throat during a post-mortem examination.
An inquest into the toddler’s death heard tests had also found fungus in Awaab’s blood.
Forensic pathologist Dr Lumb told Rochdale Coroner’s Court exposure to fungus appeared to be the most plausible explanation, or the only explanation for Awaab’s death.
He discovered airborne fungal allergens as well as mould on the ceiling and walls.
RBH has accepted its approach to damp and mould at the family’s home was “inappropriate”, according to Manchester Evening News.
The publication reports RBH’s barrister Malcolm Galloway submitted a statement signed by the housing association’s director of customer and community, Nadhia Khan.
It says RBH received a letter from a health visitor on July 9, 2020, in support of a request for the family to move home because of mould at the property.
Three days later a letter followed from Anthony Hodari solicitors for a disrepair claim on behalf of Mr Abdullah.
It prompted RBH to carry out a disrepair report on July 14, 2020.
The admission from RBH states: “The findings of the report concluded that the majority of the mould was caused by ‘lifestyle and bathing habits’.
“Having considered the evidence of Richard Blakeway (Housing Ombudsman), Professor Malcolm Richardson (Expert) and in conjunction with the report of [building surveyor] Daniel McVey, RBH accept that its approach was inappropriate and it should have taken responsibility for the mould issues and undertaken a more proactive response.”
RBH’s statement adds it had a policy not to carry out remedial works after a disrepair claim was made unless it had agreement from the claimant’s solicitor.
But RBH has admitted it had “no legal requirement” to wait and could still have carried out repairs, according to Manchester Evening News.
The statement, quoted by the same publication, says: “It is accepted RBH should have undertaken remedial works having found the mould in its inspection of the property on July 14, 2020.”
It continues: “It is accepted no remedial works were undertaken by RBH after July 14, 2020, and before Awaab’s death on December 21, 2020.
“It is accepted that various RBH teams were contacted and received further notifications about the mould from Awaab’s family during this time.”
Richard Blakeway, England’s housing ombudsman, and Professor Richardson have both told said social landlords should be proactive about tackling damp and mould rather than blaming tenants.
Professor Richardson told the court: “Most of these problems are due to a lack of attention to defects.
“Landlords have a duty of care to provide a habitable property – that’s not always the case.”
The hearing continues.