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mcskiver

Black Mould On Internal Walls & Windows - What Are My Rights?

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Hi,

We've had a problem in our rented house for around 2 years with black mould in the bedrooms caused by condensation. Our landlord is very slow at reacting to any repair requests (or rather, the letting agent is. Not sure how much is them vs the landlord to be fair), but eventually we get things done to some extent. We had an extractor fan fitted in the bathroom and kitchen and we thought that might be the end of it.

Around a month ago, I discovered that in my baby's room (he's 15 months old) there were still 2 large patches of mould on the walls, behind the furniture. I've now cleaned the areas with bleach and then a fungicidal spray specifically for treating internal walls, but now the wallpaper is peeling (because of the mold, not the treatment) and the room still smells damp. If anything it seems worse.

I've tried further lifting small areas of the wallpaper, and there are still damp spores on the back of the wallpaper. Without discussing the details of what they were going to do with me, the letting agent arranged for an electrician to fit some kind of extractor on the landing, but of course it's the symptoms that need treating as well as the cause. I sent them a polite email last week following my wife's 'phone call, asking them to urgently treat the actual damp in this bedroom, but they still haven't even bothered to respond.

So after that long preamble (sorry about that...) my main question is, how long should I wait for them to act? What can I realistically demand that they do in this case?

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To share my experience of a similar situation: My landlord initially wasn't very receptive (more interested in pointing out ways we can reduce the moisture in the air - such as not drying clothes on radiators). But after sending a photo of a damp patch he was much better. Installed an extractor fan in the bathroom & gave us a condenser. In parallel I turned up the heating a bit (in particular the background temperature rather than the temperature in evenings when we're in). The problem now seems to have largely gone away. Hope that's helpful.

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My understanding is that the law requires tenants to take reasonable steps to prevent damp mould growth, e.g. ventilate the place properly and keep it adequately heated in the winter; but that structural rising damp is the LL's problem. The result, of course is that whenever a tenant makes a complaint about damp and/or mould, the LL will automatically claim that it was caused by the tenant keeping the windows shut, heating off, drying clothes indoors and so on and so forth. Agreed with Malhem - unless the cost of moving is prohibitive, I'd just up sticks and leave at the end of your AST.

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My understanding is that the law requires tenants to take reasonable steps to prevent damp mould growth, e.g. ventilate the place properly and keep it adequately heated in the winter; but that structural rising damp is the LL's problem. The result, of course is that whenever a tenant makes a complaint about damp and/or mould, the LL will automatically claim that it was caused by the tenant keeping the windows shut, heating off, drying clothes indoors and so on and so forth.

I had this tenant.

I asked him, "what do you expect to happen if you dry clothes in a room with the doors/windows closed". He still thought it was my responsibility.

tim

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This isn't something that the landlord can just fix. you should move out to somewhere nicer.

Even establishing the cause (and what repairs to carry out) may take time - the landlord may need to get an expert report. (I don't know anything about damp, but when I was a local councillor I did see one damp property which was believed to have been built over an underground stream :blink: . Extensive modifications were required - property had to be empty while the work was carried out. But I guess that would have been an extreme case.)

Wonder if either of the following links are useful to the OP:

http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/your_family/home_and_neighbourhood_index_ew/faq_index_housing/faq_housing_home_i_rent_is_damp.htm

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/repairs_and_bad_conditions/repairs_in_private_lets/contacting_environmental_health

Re the OP's specific question about how long to give the landlord, if I was the OP I might call local Environmental Health (see above links) for their view (on a no names basis if don't want to wheel in the big guns at this stage ) and maybe a chat generally. But obviously don't know all the surrounding circs.

But like others, I wonder if you're better off just finding somewhere without damp, if that's an option open to you.

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Thanks for all the replies.

To be honest I daresay condensation did contribute to the problem, but the fact that there were no extractor fans, there's no wall or loft insulation, and that it's on the coldest external walls would suggest that it's not all our fault.

We've come to a similar conclusion that in reality we're just going to have to move, for the sake of our son if not ourselves. We owned a stone-built property in the north-east for 3 years before we moved here, and never had any of these problems, so I don't think it can all be attributed to our poor upkeep...

Anyway, thanks for the advice. We're looking elsewhere, and we'll have to step up our efforts now I think.

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This thread reminds me of a rental I lived in. The window frames were rotting (the LL had kept painting over rotten wood, obviously he denied this when it was blatantly obvious) and there was mould growing in the corners of the upstairs rooms where damp was getting in from the building it was attached to (he kept painting over the problem before showing people around). I was told, in all seriousness, not to boil anything in pans, not to use the bath, to only have brief showers and to not turn the temperature above "lukewarm". Surprisingly enough I didn't stay there long.

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Hi,

We've had a problem in our rented house for around 2 years with black mould in the bedrooms caused by condensation.

Do you have gas or electric? if electric it is very expensive to keep a flat properly heated to prevent damp. You'd be better moving.

I rent a flat out that has gas heating and it has something of a damp problem although this appears linked to poor ventilation by the tenant. I've recently changed the boiler for a combi model which seems to have helped plus the tenant has dehumidifier running (I pay the electric to run this for them).

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We have sometimes had our student tenants complain about "damp".

We have sent our builders around to fix the apparent problem, and most times they have come back and said that there is nothing to actually fix, the problem is that the occupants:

boil kettles in their rooms

leave the doors and windows closed

dry clothes inside their rooms

etc

Given that I had told the builders to go ahead and fix any problem causing "damp" then they had every incentive to find a problem, fix it and send me the bill, but there wasn't anything to fix.

In one case, in an older house, where one bedroom wall used to get very cold, we have had to make a false wall and pack the void with insulation to alleviate the problem.

If damp patches are caused by water penetration due to leaking gutters etc, then this can easily be fixed. If it is "rising damp" then it can be fixed, but you'd have to move out, cos the solution involves making a total mess of the walls of the ground floor rooms.

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  • 146 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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