Are Landlords Responsible For Mould?

Are Landlords Responsible for Mould? 

Are landlords responsible for mould? Or is it the sole issue of the tenant? These are two common questions that arise when there are problems with damp and mould, when it occurs in rental properties.  

Understandably, there is much confusion about who has the main responsibility. This often happens because in some cases both the tenant and landlord don’t always appreciate that there can be different causes for the two concerns.  

Often, the best way to solve it is to hire a professional property damage company who can undertake a mould survey to examine the extent of the issue and provide useful solutions and advice. 

What are the Legal Implications of Mould in Rental Properties?  

If you hire a professional property damage London business to survey the home and the diagnosis suggests that the cause of the mould is due to rising or penetrating damp, this means it is up to the landlord to fix the problem. The reason for this is because both are issues caused by the structure of the property.  

Arguments will often occur between landlord and tenant when the damp or mould has been caused by condensation, and this is most often caused by the lifestyle of the tenant and anyone they live with.  

Everyday tasks such as washing, doing laundry, cooking, boiling the kettle all create moisture and steam. The more tenants in a rented home, the more moisture is likely to be produced. If the property isn’t adequately ventilated or steam and moisture have no outlet to escape this can quickly lead to damp and mould.  

Landlords may feel that if the damp and mould has been caused by the tenants not ventilating the property adequately, then it is up to them to find a solution to remove it.  

Landlords have legal responsibilities as part of the ‘repairing obligations’, which is set out in Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.  

This Act sets out very clearly that the “structure and exterior of the dwelling-house” as well as “the supply of water, gas and electricity” and “heating and heating water” need to be properly maintained and kept in full working order.  

Rising damp is caused by issues of a structural nature and therefore landlords dealing with such problems need to make sure they have the right diagnosis from a professional property repair company.  

If condensation is a huge issue and one that is causing mould, in some cases this can be considered a structural issue as it could mean that moisture cannot adequately escape from a property. Therefore, proper ventilation should be installed to help inhibit the growth of mould as this is a health hazard to any tenant.  

Ways Tenants Can Protect a Rental Home from Mould 

There are lots of simple ways tenants can protect a rental home from mould.  

  • Keep Windows Open 

Whilst in the warmer months this is something that should be done daily, it is trickier during the darker colder seasons. Having them on the ventilate setting is one solution.  

  • Dry washing outside  

If possible, dry washing outside as much as possible. If washing must be dried indoors, it should be placed in a well-ventilated room, near to an open window or even near an extractor fan.  

  • Heat the Property Evenly 

Keep the temperature in all rooms as constant as possible and don’t overheat one room whilst keeping another cooler.  

Even with the right precautions in place it can sometimes be impossible to prevent damp and mould from occurring, especially if the property is well insulated.  

The best course of action is for landlords to invest in proper ventilation for the property to help remove condensation. By not doing anything at all, the structure of the property could be damaged, thereby reducing its value. Seeking help from a team of professionals who deal with water damage, or water damage restoration processes, who can give you help and advice on how to correct problems such as these. 

Tenants should find that the landlord’s duties for maintenance of the property should be set out in the tenancy agreement. However, it is up to the tenant to highlight and report repairs or any issues they find as soon as possible. 

If the tenants took over the property any time after the 1st October 2015, and a problem was reported after this time there is a legal obligation on behalf of the landlord to respond to the tenant within fourteen days. They must inform the tenant what they will do and when.  

Tenants can legally report the problem to their local authority if the landlord doesn’t respond with the allotted time frame. The local authority can then issue the landlord with a notice to fix the damp and mould.  

A Landlord’s Responsibility for Damp and Mould 

Treating damp and mould is considered a mandatory repair under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. 

Landlords who properly comply to the Housing Health and Safety Rating System will stay on the right side of the law, they will ensure the integrity of their property and help to maintain its value. They will also ensure that their tenants can live there safely.  

If mould forms in a property when there are tenants in it, it is important to make sure that as a landlord it is dealt with quickly and effectively, by engaging the services of a property repair company who can undertake a mould survey to accurately identify the cause. There are also rules regarding the physical and mental health of tenants and landlords must ensure that this problem does not affect either.  

Mould can cause many health problems including breathing issues, and any tenants who suffer from allergic conditions, or who have compromised immune systems can suffer serious side effects if they are exposed to it. It is therefore best to get professionals in to diagnose and treat it as soon as possible.  

Prevention of Damp and Mould in a Tenanted Property 

Ensuring a property is well maintained and well ventilated is key to preventing damp and mould from developing.  

For more help and information on what to do if you’re experiencing issues with one or both of these problems then contact Property Damage UK for a comprehensive Mould Survey: https://propertydamageuk.com/our-services/mould-survey-london/  

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