Council's response to coroner's report on Jane Bennett's death

Bedroom wall behind wardrobe in Mrs Bennett's council property
The bedroom wall behind the wardrobe in Mrs Bennett's council property

Jill Finnesey, Head of Housing, at Mansfield District Council said: “We are deeply saddened by the death of Jane Bennett and offer our sincere condolences to her family.

“In our response to the coroner, the council seeks to provide certainty that we responded to inspections, successfully completed all repairs, including those relating to damp and mould, in a timely manner. We want to give assurance that the council was diligent in carrying out appropriate works to her property during her short tenancy.

“With regards to the case of Mrs Bennett, the council was made aware of a small amount of mould that was isolated to the bedroom drawers and wardrobe in her property. This was reported and investigated early on in her tenancy. A zero-tolerance approach was taken to mould and proactive mould treatment was undertaken on 11 January following an inspection on 5 January as a preventative measure to minimise any risk to Mrs Bennett’s health and wellbeing.

“We have also evidenced that the property had 17 repairs and maintenance jobs carried out during the tenancy and that Mrs Bennett was provided with advice and guidance throughout her tenancy to support her to manage moisture levels.

“We have provided evidence to support our view that the living conditions in her home were to a good standard. This is supported by the Savills stock condition survey carried out at the property on 6 December 2021 and the timeline of inspections and repairs from October 2022 to April 2023 that the council submitted to the coroner.

“At the coroner’s request, the council has written to 64 neighbouring residents requesting to carry out home inspections and provide advice on how to best deal with damp and mould. To date, we have carried out 41 inspections in those properties, and will continue to work with residents to ensure their homes are maintained to the standards set by the Housing Regulator.

“Other proactive measures the council has undertaken include a social media campaign in November 2023 covering damp and mould that reached nearly 90,000 people. Information on this matter was also included in our annual report to residents which was printed and distributed to every tenant in 2023.

“The coroner will now review the information that we have provided, and we will continue to cooperate with any requests for information.

“The council takes its role as landlord and tenant health and wellbeing very seriously. Any resident with concerns about their council-owned property should contact our customer services team on 01623 463463, email or speak to their housing officer to report any issues to us.”

Published: January 22nd 2024