Awaab Ishak death: Housing body 'got things badly wrong' and announces 'immediate action'

The housing body that owned the flat where toddler Awaab Ishak was killed by mould has admitted that it "got things badly wrong" and said it has started to take "immediate action".

In a series of tweets, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) said it will "significantly accelerate inspections" for every home it visits, checking for damp and mould.

A coroner ruled that Awaab, two, died from a respiratory condition caused by mould in a one-bedroom flat in December 2020 which was managed by the housing association.

RBH said: "We want to start by saying again how sorry we are for the loss of Awaab. We know our words will not take away the pain felt by his family, nor will they immediately heal the hurt and the strength of feeling which is justifiably being felt in Rochdale and across the country.

"We did make assumptions about lifestyle and we accept that we got that wrong. We will be implementing further training across the whole organisation.

"We abhor racism in any shape or form and we know that we have a responsibility to all our communities."

Awaab's parents, originally from Sudan, had repeatedly complained about the mould.

His family have accused the housing association of racism, saying they have "no doubt at all" they were "treated in this way" because they are not from the UK.

The toddler's death sparked anger over the poor state of the home he and his family were forced to live in - leading to RBH chief executive Gareth Swarbrick being sacked.

During the year Awaab died, Mr Swarbrick was paid £170,000.

But residents in the Rochdale housing estate where Awaab was exposed to severe mould and damp say the conditions haven't changed.

In response to Awaab's death, Housing Secretary Michael Gove put social accommodation providers "on notice" and said it "must never be allowed to happen again", in a letter to every English council leader and social housing provider

Councils are being asked to supply Mr Gove's department with an assessment of damp and mould affecting their privately rented properties, as well as details of how it is being tackled.