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Tenant Rights and Landlord Obligations: Damp and Mould

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Whilst London may currently be basking in late summer sunny weather the rain of autumn and the biting cold of winter will sadly be upon us all too soon.  With the rain and cold comes increased tenant complaints about dampness and mould in tenanted properties so our landlord and tenant solicitors have put together answers to some frequently asked questions on tenant rights and landlord obligations on dampness and mould.

Online and London Landlord and Tenant Solicitors

For landlord and tenant legal advice call the experts at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form.

Damp and mould – are the problems down to the tenant or landlord?

Damp and mould have been featured in the national news and every winter questions are asked about whether a landlord is responsible for fixing a tenanted property that is suffering from dampness and mould.

The answer is an unsatisfactory ‘it all depends.’ That is not a cop-out but the honest answer from landlord and tenant solicitors who represent both landlords and tenants in housing disrepair claims so know both sides of the argument.

If the dampness and mould are down to the tenant’s actions the landlord is not responsible. That is why you get so many disputed housing disrepair cases involving dampness and mould.

Mould grows if a property is not heated or if it is not ventilated. With the rise in energy bills and the cost-of-living crisis, it is not surprising that more tenants are reporting problems with dampness and mould. The problems can be particularly bad when a tenant is unable to dry their washing outside and resorts to hanging wet clothes around the flat or house.

Equally, dampness and mould may be the result of a landlord failing to keep the property repaired – sometimes the problems stem from disrepair and are exacerbated by a lack of heat or ventilation. Often the problem is only solvable when a landlord and tenant work together to find out the cause and then both follow the action plan.

Should tenants be concerned about mould?

Tenants do need to be concerned about mould, especially where members of their household are vulnerable because of their age or because they have existing health conditions, such as asthma or other lung-related problems.

Some tenants tell us that they are afraid to report mould or other repair issues to their landlord as they are worried that their landlord will try to kick them out or will refuse to agree to renew the tenancy agreement when it comes to its end. Tenant concerns have increased as so many landlords are deciding to pull out of the buy-to-let property market because of increased mortgage rates and the cost of repairs.

If a tenant is facing eviction or a landlord is threatening to not renew the tenancy agreement if the tenant asks for essential repairs, then you need legal advice. In most cases, a landlord cannot force a tenant out mid-way through the tenancy agreement unless the tenant is in breach of the agreement and the landlord has obtained a court order.  Equally, a tenant should not be blackmailed into not asking for essential repairs that are covered under the terms of the tenancy agreement because they have been told that the landlord will not renew the agreement.

What should a landlord do about dampness and mould?

A tenanted property must be fit for human habitation throughout the tenancy agreement and a landlord must comply with their repairing obligations in the tenancy agreement. If a landlord does not do so they could face a housing disrepair claim and even a personal injury claim if the damp and mould affects the tenant or a member of their family.

The first step is to try and identify the cause of the problem. Entry to check out the issue must be negotiated as a landlord does not have the right to turn up and demand admittance other than in a case of emergency. For example, reports of a gas leak.

The tenant and landlord should keep records of all communications and pictures. Evidence that a landlord attempted to visit to look at the problem but was put off by the tenant will help in any disrepair case. Equally, if a landlord is adamant that there is no insulation or rising damp problems causing the mould and the problem stems from a lack of heating or ventilation an independent report can be commissioned.

If repair work is identified then a landlord needs to keep the tenant informed about timescales so they can sort out access to the property. The landlord also needs to identify if any remediable work will be needed after the repairs are carried out. For example, redecoration or replacement items damaged by mould.

How can the landlord and tenant lawyers at OTS Solicitors help you?

At OTS Solicitors our landlord and tenant lawyers can help you with:

  • Housing disrepair claims
  • Landlord and tenant disputes
  • Tenancy agreement advice so you understand your tenant or landlord's obligations
  • Advice on fixed-term and rolling tenancies
  • Section 21 notices and possession proceedings

For advice on any aspect of landlord and tenant law our team of specialist solicitors can help with the practical guidance you need.

You can expect great service with attention to detail. Have a read of our client reviews. One recent housing law client said:

‘’Highly recommend OTS Solicitors if you have an issue regarding your tenancy. Nollienne Alparaque was incredibly helpful at finding a solution to the problem I had with my landlord/tenancy. Obviously, I hope I won't have to contact her again but if I do, I'll ask for Nollienne for sure!’’ Posted on August 7, 2023

Online and London Landlord and Tenant Solicitors

For landlord and tenant legal advice call the experts at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form.

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