There are fears that Trafford’s status as Greater Manchester’s ‘affluent’ borough is masking areas where people are living in deprivation.

Trafford Council has committed to taking action gainst housing associations which fail – or are too slow – to deal with damp and mould affecting social housing tenants.

The move comes in the wake of the scandal surrounding the death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak as a result of exposure to mould at his family’s flat in Rochdale in 2020. 

The Lib Dems put forward the motion, amended by the controlling Labour group, underlining work already being done in Trafford to tackle the problem.

Lib Dem councillor Simon Lepori and his colleague Shaun Ennis said they are concerned Trafford’s reputation as an affluent borough is ‘masking’ pockets of deprivation, particularly on the Broomwood estate in Timperley – an area they both represent.

Coun Lepori said that during his election campaign this year he entered a property and was ‘hit with damp, mould, bad ventilation and inadequate roofing’.

“None of this was or is acceptable,” he said. “This should be a mark of shame for all of us, that families and individuals, people who have served our communities and country are having to live in anything but clean, dry, safe homes.

“I say to all of us, regardless of political affiliation, because this is about Trafford residents, not us. This is about the council being held to its duty of care for these residents.

“To do nothing and wash our hands of this issue is not an option. Support this motion and let us move forward together and put the social  renters of Trafford first.”

Coun Ennis added: “Far too often the culture within housing associations is wrong. Because, if when you go to report these issues you are met with indifference and an attitude from some housing officers that you should be grateful for what you have, is it any wonder why so often people turn away from and towards despair.”

Responding, Coun James Wright, Labour’s executive member for housing and advice, said: “As a council we are absolutely committed to improving standards and we will always take the necessary action if we become aware of people living in substandard conditions, regardless of the reason for it.”

He said the action should also include private landlords, saying: “For too long they have got away with providing accommodation that is well below standards required. 

“Alongside the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), this is something we will tackle.”

He also urged the opposition Conservative group to write to their minister for housing and the Secretary of State for levelling up to confirm the Government’s commitment to the Renters Reform Bill which will give private tenants more rights and more security of tenure.

The amended motion said that since the Government’s legislation, the council has created a link on its website to an advice leaflet on damp and mould – Disrepair in private rented properties (

A new code in the authority’s case management system has been set up to report specifically on the number of complaints received about damp and mould growth.

Meanwhile, the town hall has changed its procedure to ensure all tenants who contact the council about the problem are emailed a link to the advice leaflet.

The council has also flagged up the creation of a £15m fund by GMCA called the Social Housing Quality Fund to help improve properties suffering with severe mould and damp.

In addition, the motion also said that ‘the creation of, and subsequent transfer of housing stock to housing associations does not render local authorities powerless to improve the lives of tenants’.

It pointed out that under the Housing Act 2004, Trafford has a legal duty to review housing conditions in their district, identify actions required to remedy ‘category 1 hazards’ and then – to quote legislation – “they must take the appropriate enforcement action in relation to the hazard”.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, local authorities can serve hazard awareness and improvement notices and can also take other emergency action, where housing associations are falling short, the motion said.

The council has resolved to ask all housing associations with properties in Trafford to ensure ‘they prioritise damp and mould complaints and resolve them without delay’.

They should Identify and prioritise vulnerable tenants dealing with damp and mould issues – particularly the very young, the very old and those with chronic lung conditions.

Repairs to their homes that can prevent damp and mould should also be ‘actioned’ – for example, clearing guttering, sealing windows, replacing faulty extraction fans in bathrooms and kitchens as well as providing cavity wall insulation, the resolution said.

A full damp and mould survey of properties in Trafford should be conducted and an action plan prepared for reparatory works. 

Tenants with be provided with guidance for preventing damp and mould, beyond advice to simply ‘wipe it off’, the motion states. 

There will be specific training to call handlers on how to advise tenants telephoning or emailing about their damp and mould problems and all tenants will be informed about the process for raising and tracking a complaint. 

All councillors will be given the opportunity to attend regular inspection walkabouts with housing officers.