Adopt a zero-tolerance approach to damp and mould with text analytics

The Report, Spotlight on Damp and Mould (October 2021) talks of "a zero-tolerance approach" and for “Landlords to ‘find their silences ’where complaints are not being raised but indicators suggest there may be issues.

 The statistics and case studies contained in the report demonstrate the impact on people's quality of life. I think we can assume that many of these 1500-plus complaints were mentioned through multiple channels before they arrived at the Ombudsman’s desk.

 The report highlights the following:

  • 1,595 complaints from residents about damp and mould were reported while within the landlord’s complaint process, and were assisted by our Dispute Support Team
  •  410 damp and mould complaints were formally investigated because the resident was dissatisfied with the landlord’s response
  •  £123,094.57 in compensation was ordered across 222cases, with sums over £1,000 being ordered in 21 cases      

 The report also offers some practical recommendations to prevent and resolve issues. It suggests landlords need to have procedures and actions in place to deal quickly with the issue and to be more proactive - listening to feedback and using data and information to inform their strategic approach.

Text analytics can help housing associations get ahead of this issue by listening and analysing all feedback.  

 Feedback Ferret housing text analytics solution is specifically designed to identify key issues from customers’ free-form comments. A resident writing about multiple issues in a comment box online or by email may mention 2 or 3 different issues in that one single comment. Feedback Ferret can also recognise words spelt incorrectly- which for words such as asthma and emphysema is quite common.  Our text analytics solution is designed to read, understand and define each sentence, clause or word and categorise those under a set of pre-defined topics, one of which is damp and mould.  Intersecting different comments such as mentions of asthma (followed by damp or leaking) would be issued as an alert to a relevant member of staff to action.

Damp and mould dashboard report from Feedback Ferret

 The data that is collected is displayed in easy-to-use reporting dashboards.  It can be used to effectively identify themes, trends and learning opportunities which may lead to discovering problems with a specific contractor (or a housing area) where significant incidences of damp and mould are mentioned requiring a physical inspection.

 Feedback Ferret has been talking to housing associations for some time about how easily and effectively text analytics can quickly identify damp and mould, and a range of other issues from their residents' feedback. The housing organisations we work with are seeing real benefits of the early warnings and insight into potential strategic response provided by the data reports. To learn more about our effective and unique housing solution contact us at