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Community Action

16 / 17 Section 99: Queensbridge Road

Properties on Queensbridge Road kept Wendy Pettifer and her colleagues busy:

‘Throughout the 1980s, when I worked in the Advice Centre and prior to the implementation of the Decent Homes Standard by a Labour Government, many people in Hackney lived in council-owned properties in such a poor state of repair that the conditions were bad for their health. Dampness and mould growth were the most common problems, causing or exacerbating asthma and eczema. Shelter succeeded in establishing that tenants could use a little known legal remedy in the Magistrates Courts: Section 99 of the Public Health Act 1936 (now s82 Environmental Protection Act 1990) to obtain a simple remedy for an order for works to be carried out and to be compensated for any adverse effects on their health.

Together with some volunteer environmental experts, we issued hundreds of such complaints for tenants with the result that works were carried out and they were sometimes moved. Sadly, this effective and speedy remedy is now very difficult for tenants to access due to changes in costs and compensation rules.’

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Damp and mouldy conditions in the home of an Advice Centre customer, 1980s
Wendy Pettifer and colleagues on a weekend away trip to Darsham, 1982, supplied courtesy of Wendy Pettifer