Calls for apartment boss’s resignation are growing after toddler Awaab Ishak leaves to die in mold-infested apartment

Last night calls grew for the resignation of the £185,000 housing association boss who left a toddler dead in a mold-infested flat.

Gareth Swarbrick, whose failure to give notice of the preventable death of Awaab Ishak, aged over two, according to Housing Secretary Michael Gove, is clinging to his post as pressure mounts.

The 55-year-old chief executive of Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) – whose pay package has increased by more than a quarter in the last three years – has yet to apologize for the “degrading” conditions in which Awaab’s family lived.

In the conclusion to Awaab’s death, coroner Joanne Kearsley noted that the cause of death was “chronic exposure to harmful mold”.

The coroner said RBH was not “proactive” in responding to the family’s complaint, reports The Telegraph.

Ms Kearsley asked: “How will a two year old die from exposure to mold in the UK in 2020?”

Awaab Ishack (pictured), 2, died after living in

Awaab Ishack (pictured), 2, died after living in

Awaab Ishack (pictured), 2, died after living in “degrading” conditions in a mold-infested flat in Rochdale

Gareth Swarbrick (pictured), 55, whose failure to give up the avoidable death of Awaab Ishak, who was over two years old, according to Housing Secretary Michael Gove, is clinging to his post as pressure mounts

Gareth Swarbrick (pictured), 55, whose failure to give up the avoidable death of Awaab Ishak, who was over two years old, according to Housing Secretary Michael Gove, is clinging to his post as pressure mounts

Gareth Swarbrick (pictured), 55, whose failure to give up the avoidable death of Awaab Ishak, who was over two years old, according to Housing Secretary Michael Gove, is clinging to his post as pressure mounts

In his evidence, Mr Swabrick said: “We failed to recognize the risk to the little boy’s health from the mold in the family home. We have allowed a legal remediation process, commonly used in the housing sector, to stand in the way of immediate mold control.’

But Mr Gove yesterday accused Mr Swarbrick’s organization of a “horrible dereliction of duty”.

The housing minister told parliament that the housing company’s failures were “rooted in prejudice” and that Awaab and his family “deserved better”.

One MP suggested the landlord could even be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Tenant groups called for Mr Swabrick’s sacking and branded his pay package a “disgusting” reward for failure.

The scathing comments came as the Housing Ombudsman for England launched an inquiry into whether there had been a “major failure” at RBH.

Back in 2017, Awaab’s parents repeatedly asked RBH officials for help with the appalling mold problem that was spreading across the walls and ceilings of their apartment in the city of Greater Manchester.

Back in 2017, Awaab's parents repeatedly asked RBH officials for help with the appalling mold problem that was spreading across the walls and ceiling (pictured) of their flat in Rochdale, Greater Manchester

Back in 2017, Awaab's parents repeatedly asked RBH officials for help with the appalling mold problem that was spreading across the walls and ceiling (pictured) of their flat in Rochdale, Greater Manchester

Back in 2017, Awaab’s parents repeatedly asked RBH officials for help with the appalling mold problem that was spreading across the walls and ceiling (pictured) of their flat in Rochdale, Greater Manchester

Gareth Swabrick lives in this £270,000 suburban home outside of Bolton with his wife Susanne

Gareth Swabrick lives in this £270,000 suburban home outside of Bolton with his wife Susanne

Gareth Swabrick lives in this £270,000 suburban home outside of Bolton with his wife Susanne

Awaab Ishak's father Faisal Abdullah, family lawyer Christian Weaver, solicitor Kelly Darlington and Awaab's mother Aisha Amin (second right) outside Coroner's Court in Rochdale on Tuesday after the inquest concluded

Awaab Ishak's father Faisal Abdullah, family lawyer Christian Weaver, solicitor Kelly Darlington and Awaab's mother Aisha Amin (second right) outside the Coroner's Court in Rochdale on Tuesday after the inquest concluded

Awaab Ishak’s father Faisal Abdullah, family lawyer Christian Weaver, solicitor Kelly Darlington and Awaab’s mother Aisha Amin (second right) outside Coroner’s Court in Rochdale on Tuesday after the inquest concluded

But through a mixture of bureaucracy and communication disruptions and “cultural assumptions” about the family being asylum seekers from Sudan, nothing was done.

The teenager suffered from escalating coughing fits, suffered cardiac arrest on December 21, 2020 and died while being transferred to Royal Oldham Hospital. Fungus was found in his blood and lungs.

Mr Swabrick’s annual salary package, including pension contributions, has risen to £185,000 from £144,000 the year before Awaab’s death. The ailing manager, whose salary has enabled him to privately raise at least two of his four children, lives in a modest £270,000 semi-detached house on the outskirts of Bolton and drives a luxury SUV.

Housing Ombudsman for England Richard Blakeway said he would use his new powers to question RBH staff directly as part of an urgent inquiry.

Michael Gove (pictured) said bosses at RBH who

Michael Gove (pictured) said bosses at RBH who

Michael Gove (pictured) said bosses at RBH who “earn far more” than the Prime Minister “must draw the consequences” from their balance sheet

In a letter to Mr Swabrick published online, he said his team was reviewing three complaints about dampness and mold and would see if they “suggested a broader failure by the landlord”.

RBH currently has 108 live complaints of dampness and mold from tenants. The housing association said the number was down from 600 in 2019.

Greater Manchester Tenants Union said: “The rot starts at the top – Mr Swabrick must go.”

Mr Gove said bosses at RBH who “earn far more” than the PM would have to face “the consequences” of their balance sheet.

Awaab’s parents, Faisal Abdullah and Aisha Amin, are planning legal action over their son’s death. RBH was asked for comment.

An RBH spokesman said: “A conversation has taken place between Mr Swabrick and Mr Gove. We cannot comment further at this time.’

https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/uncategorized/calls-grow-for-housing-boss-to-resign-after-toddler-awaab-ishak-left-to-die-in-mould-infested-flat/ Calls for apartment boss’s resignation are growing after toddler Awaab Ishak leaves to die in mold-infested apartment

Brian Ashcraft

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