Michael Gove hits out at state of Awaab Ishak’s flat as he puts housing providers ‘on notice’


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Sky News

The housing secretary has put social accommodation providers “on notice” as he hit out at the “abhorrent” mouldy flat that killed two-year-old Awaab Ishak.

In a letter to every English council leader and social housing provider, Michael Gove said Awaab’s death was an “appalling case of the utmost gravity” and “must never be allowed to happen again”.

Awaab died in December 2020 from a respiratory condition caused by mould.

The boss of Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH), which ran the flat, was sacked on Saturday.

Two former employees have told Sky News that RBH had a “toxic and bullying culture”.

Two-year-old Awaab Ishak who died in December 2020.

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Two-year-old Awaab died in December 2020

In his letter, Mr Gove said he had been made aware of many cases where damp and mould had “gone unaddressed for far too long”.

He wrote: “Where people complain about damp and mould, you must listen; where you find them, you must take prompt action. To keep tenants safe, you must not hide behind legal process.

“All of us – including my department – need to deliver our responsibility to people living in poor quality housing.”

Councils are being asked to supply Mr Gove’s department with an assessment of damp and mould affecting their privately rented properties, as well as details of how it is being tackled.

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Local authorities have also been asked to list the number of civil penalty notices and successful prosecutions pursued in relation to dangerous damp and mould.

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Awaab Ishak's family and their lawyer

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‘Awaab’s death must not be in vain’

Referring to existing legislation, Mr Gove said he was asking providers to “prioritise the…

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