Charity says state of Norfolk homes harming people's health

Mould at St Faith's Lane. Photo: Archant

Shelter says mould is one of the biggest problems facing renters in the East of England. - Credit: Archant

The health of one in six renters in the east of England, including Norfolk and Suffolk, is being harmed by the state of their homes, according to research by Shelter.

The charity’s YouGov poll reveals that 17pc of renters say their home has harmed their health.

Within that figure, the most common problems include damp and mould (22pc of renters); being unable to heat their home (23pc); constantly struggling to pay rent (20pc) and fear of eviction (21pc).

Polly Neate

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter. - Credit: Shelter

Shelter’s chief executive, Polly Neate, said: “The cost of poor housing in the east of England is spilling out into overwhelmed GP surgeries, mental health services and hours lost from work.

"Housing secretary [Michael Gove] must get a grip on the housing crisis and tackle a major cause of ill health."

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove.

Housing secretary Michael Gove. - Credit: Neil Perry

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A spokeswoman for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: "Everybody deserves to live in a decent and safe home - that's why we're cracking down on rogue landlords who rent out unsafe accommodation and have given councils robust enforcement tools, including fines of up to £30,000 and banning orders.

"The new secretary of state is clear that we must go further and our reforms of the rental sector will deliver a fairer system for all."

Mould at St Faith's Lane. Photo: Archant

Mould in St Faith's Lane. - Credit: Archant

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Norwich City Council officers recently took action against a landlord who owned a block of squalid flats in the city.

When housing inspectors from City Hall visited the apartments at 60 St Faith's Lane in 2018, they found white walls turned black from mould, leaking raw sewage and broken fire alarms.

The city council ordered all 25 tenants to leave the apartments for their own safety.

The council then pursued two cases against landlord Nick Sutton and Faiths Lane Apartments. One was a civil case which ended up in the Royal Courts of Justice in January 2020.

For the first time, the council used new legislation under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to fine Sutton personally, rather than just his company. 

The court ordered Sutton, of Homestall Manor, East Grinstead, to pay £174,000 for failing to fix the apartment block. He appealed the case but lost.

The second case went to the criminal courts in April, with Sutton pleading guilty to six offences under the Housing Act. He was ordered to pay £10,700.

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