May 20 2013 Latest news:
Monday, December 31, 2012
Council bosses are to spend up to £10,000 scripting, filming and editing a video instructing tenants how to prevent damp damaging their health and possessions.
Norwich City Council says it costs a “fairly significant” sum of cash each year to deal with damp in its near-16,900 properties.
But the authority has been criticised for choosing to spend money on making a film telling people how they can control condensation and mould.
A lack of maintenance to the houses rather than how tenants behave has been cited as a reason for damp and condensation problems.
A city council spokeswoman said: “Everyday activities, such as cooking and showering, add to the moisture in the air within a home and, if allowed to build up, can cause damp and eventually mould growth.
“It’s because of how easy it is for condensation to build up that damp is a persistent problem in many homes.
“There are straightforward steps tenants can take to control condensation and our aim with the instructional film is to show people very simply how they can do this, which would significantly reduce the problem within our properties.”
The council advertised for bidders to produce the film, with the contract listed under the heading “advertising, propaganda and information film and video-tape production”.
The contract is valued at between £7,500 and £10,000 and it is estimated to be for a three-month period.
Kevin Hayes, Norwich Leaseholders’ Association chairman, said he had been invited to discuss the content of the video.
He said: “The council should not be spending money this way in hard times and given their past record, the contract will probably have more holes in it than a Swiss cheese.
“However, damp is an issue for both leaseholders and tenants and I have had a couple of complaints about it quite recently, which I passed on to them.
“From what I have seen the biggest cause is lack of maintenance to gutters, ivy not controlled and suchlike, more than ‘lifestyle’ issues.”
Tenants have previously reported problems to the Evening News and taken to social networking sites to complain about the council’s response to treating damp.
But the council says it provides a five-page leaflet in an attempt to inform tenants how they can avoid mould growing in their properties if they have condensation problems.
If there is no improvement after six weeks, the authority says a damp inspection will take place to check ventilation and examine how the property is heated.
The council was unable to confirm an exact figure of how much it spends on dealing with damp, due to the relevant staff being out of the office during the Christmas period.