DOUGLAS North MHKs are calling for a reduction in rent for tenants of Willaston estate whose homes are blighted by damp penetration and structural problems.
John Houghton and Bill Henderson have written to Social Care Minister Chris Robertshaw urging him to reduce rents for the tenants in 111 homes affected by this ‘serious and deteriorating situation’.
They have formally applies to his department to apply the status of ‘Special Situation’ to all tenancies on Willaston estate and implement a rent reduction for those tenants by a maximum of 10 points.
If approved, affected tenants could have their rents reduced by as much as £12 per week.
The two MHKs say the properties should be monitored under Special Situation Status until they are brought up to an acceptable standard.
Douglas Council housing chiefs believe cavity wall insulation installed in the homes under a central government scheme could be to blame for the damp problem. They warn that if a pilot scheme to remedy the problems isn’t successful up to 130 houses in Willaston may have to be demolished.
But the Social Care Minister insists the problem isn’t the installation of cavity wall insulation but because the external fabric has reached the end of its effective life.
In their letter Mr Houghton and Mr Henderson say: ‘The department will be aware of a very serious and deteriorating situation on Willaston estate whereby penetrating and rising damp break-out is affecting these properties. The principal cause acknowledged by all is due to the cavity wall insulation programme which was applied a number of years ago.
‘Other properties have been identified with serious structural failure and properties and are no longer weather-tight, or resistant to rising/descending or penetrating damp.’
Douglas Council’s housing maintenance department lists 111 properties affected by damp in Willaston. That figure is rising, say the two MHKs. A pilot scheme is under way on six homes on the estate to investigate the problems and identify the causes.
The work will involve renewal of the roof coverings, fascias, soffits and rainwater goods as well as rebuilding the outer leaf of the external walls.