Council Gives Out Big Contract to Tackle Mould

Borough named as the worst in the country for the issue in 2021

The £2million contract for housing wasn't put out to tender

February 23, 2024

Hammersmith and Fulham Council is upping efforts to tackle damp and mould across its housing estates with a new two-year, £2 million contract. This comes on the back of ongoing issues with repairs across the borough, with a recent Housing Ombudsman investigation recommending a series of actions to improve the council’s service.

The contract, which runs until July 31, 2025, was awarded to Effectable Construction Services Ltd without any competitive tendering. According to a document outlining the decision, this was to ensure works could start ‘immediately’, with a tender exercise seen as likely to take ‘too long in this instance’.

A council spokesperson said the local authority is investing more than £1m a week into ‘modernisation and refurbishment works’, and that it has boosted its contractor capacity ‘to keep responding quickly to any future damp and mould cases and ensure our residents are safe in their homes’.

The council was ranked as the worst landlord in the country for damp and mould cases in 2021. The Housing Ombudsman, which investigated 142 landlords between April 2019 and March 2021, had the council in last place for both damp and mould issues and handling complaints from tenants. In May 2023, a wider investigation was launched into the council’s management of housing concerns, due to what Housing Ombudsman Richard Blakeway described as repeated failures.

That report has since been published, with a list of recommendations included by the Ombudsman as to how the council could improve its repairs and complaints services. A statement from the local authority responding to the report said it is ‘truly sorry’ and reiterated its ‘deepest regrets to those residents affected’.

It added: “While we have improved, our journey of change still has far to go. We will continue to listen to residents, including our dedicated housing representative forums that guide our long-term plans. We will report progress to council scrutiny committees, ensure compliance with national legislation, and seek best practice from external bodies, as we strengthen our services to meet residents’ needs.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) has previously spoken with a number of residents suffering from damp and mould in the borough. These included a woman who said her daughter’s lung collapsed after the council allegedly ignored black mould in her flat for two years, and another whose mother died in a damp-ridden Fulham property while the local authority tried to fix her leaky, crumbly home.

The new contract is intended to be one of two the council issues ‘to effectively manage, resolve and prevent these [damp and mould] works moving forward’, as it anticipates more cases to emerge due to the winter period and actions such as the tenant home visit programme.

The council report on the contract says Effectable Construction ‘have a successful track record of delivering similar works in neighbouring London boroughs, and will bring this experience, expertise and local knowledge to the contract’. It adds the company has already completed a small pilot of works in the borough, and has experience tackling complex damp and mould cases.

A Hammersmith and Fulham Council spokesperson said: “We’re working hard to improve our ageing housing stock for all local residents and investing more than £1m a week into modernisation and refurbishment works. This includes proactively finding what further improvement works and futureproofing is needed by carrying out surveys and home visits on all our properties.

“We are completing an average of around 1,000 repairs per week and have driven down the number of outstanding damp and mould cases in our stock by more than 86% since May 2023 after establishing a Damp and Mould Action Group.

“To keep responding quickly to any future damp and mould cases and ensure our residents are safe in their homes, we have further boosted our contractor capacity with this specialist provider which has successfully recently supported the council with repair works including damp and mould.”


Ben Lynch - Local Democracy Reporter