Who is responsible for repairing mould damage in a rented property?
Remarkably this is not a straight forward answer. If the mould is caused as a result of a leaking pipe, poor damp proofing, or other structural issue, then the landlord is duty bound to ensure that this does not affect the health of the tenant.
If the mould has appeared following the commencement of the tenancy and is due to poor ventilation, for example using a non-condensing tumble dryer in a room with all the windows closed every week, this is would be caused by the lifestyle of the tenant and would be easily resolved with proper circulation.
Why is it important to address mould in a property?
Inhaling mould fragments or spores can inflame the airways causing nasal congestion, wheezing, chest tightness, coughing and throat irritation. Prolonged exposure to high levels of indoor dampness can reduce lung function and cause chronic health problems such as asthma.
What causes a mould problem in a property?
Mould, put simply, is excess moisture within the structure of the building, whether it be rising damp from a basement or underground leak, poor ventilation, leaking roof or ineffective window frames. The list goes on and is one of the biggest issues that faces landlords and tenants each year in Britain.
People often assume that mould is restricted to older houses but this is not the case. In newly built homes, damp and mould can occur from the water within the cement, bricks and plaster when the house is being constructed. As soon as the roof and windows are in situ the moisture has nowhere to go which is why, in a lot of new build properties the rooms that encounter the most moisture e.g. bathrooms and kitchens, are fitted with extractor fans to reduce the moisture.
Is mould in properties common?
Unfortunately for landlords and tenants across the land, mould is a common cause of complaint. Not only due to its visibility in a room but because it can be dangerous and make people very ill.
Can mould cause other housing disrepair problems?
Mould is not something that can simply be wiped with a damp cloth or painted over. It may appear to have gone but, within a space of weeks it can be back with vengeance. Mould brings about many other problems and, in serious cases, it will can destroy the compound of the wall or roof. It also makes a fantastic breeding ground for bacteria.
How do I approach my landlord about a mould problem?
If you have a problem with mould, contact your landlord immediately. Take photographs of the affected area and, if possible, measure the height of the mould if it’s floor to ceiling. This way you will be able to track its growth to establish how serious the issue is.
If there is a lifestyle issue causing the mould then the landlord cleaning and painting the wall, along with the adoption of lifestyle changes, will resolve the problem but, if the mould is caused by other things, do not accept that by just cleaning the wall or painting it, the problem will go away.
I’m a student living in private accommodation, aren’t we just supposed to put up with mould and other housing problems?
Being a student makes no difference to your rights as a tenant. If you have a housing disrepair matter then contact a solicitor immediately to assist with your issues if the landlord is not supportive.
My landlord has responded to my report of mould, but the problem is persisting/has come back. What should I do?
Advise the landlord again, if he fails to respond contact a solicitor.
What do I do if my landlord simply refuses to help?
Contact KLS Law where our team of specialist lawyers will deal with your claim from start to finish.