The London Assembly Environment Committee has been investigating the impact of cold and damp homes in London. We received 92 comments in our discussion .
Your stories and experiences have helped the Assembly make recommendations for the Mayor, including that he specifies that new housing’s ventilation and retrofitted insulation can cope with any level of occupancy. Additionally, advice to residents from housing associations and providers on the best way to deal with condensation could be improved.
Damp problems affect about 6% of homes in London, but they are more common in local authority, housing association and private-rented homes. Many of you talked about problems with mould in rented accommodation, difficulties cleaning this away and the impact on your health through difficulty breathing and allergies. A range of factors can lead to cold and damp, including poor ventilation, poorly installed insulation and overcrowding.
“It was a ground floor flat, and we couldn't open the windows because we were not at home most of the times (security wise), and no place to dry clothes but indoors.”
Cold and damp homes are a particular problem for Londoners living with disabilities, the very young and older residents. The risk of falls, strokes, respiratory and circulatory problems is increased in cold homes. Some Talk Londoners mentioned that it can be expensive to heat their homes, and warmth can be quickly lost when radiators are turned off.
“If I turn off the radiators, within one hour all the heat goes away and it's cold again… I cannot afford to leave the radiators permanently turned on. So I stay in the cold. It's very tough at age 70!”
Although ventilation can help reduce damp and mould, some Talk Londoners mentioned that opening windows was not always practical, due to security concerns in ground floor flats, or worries that doing so would cool your home down too much.
Thank you again for sharing your experiences. See how your views are reflected in the Assembly’s recommendations.
Watch the video below, and hear from London Assembly member Caroline Russell. She chairs the Environment Committee and leads the 'cold and damp homes' investigation.