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Do you have problems with tenants complaining about mould and damp? Do you wonder why this is happening now when there have not been problems before?
As landlords ourselves we understand how frustrating this can be. Damp Genius can carry out comprehensive damp surveys for landlords to detail exactly what is happening in the property and why it is happening.
The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act applies to all periodically rented properties. The act is designed to ensure all rented accommodation is of a good standard, giving tenants means of redress against landlords who neglect responsibility and provide substandard property. This is now a concern for some landlords who need to demonstrate that they are taking steps to redress and damp in a tenant’s house.
The act sets out a number of criteria which may be looked at by a court when deciding if a property is fit for habitation. Out of the main 9 criteria listed 2 of them relate directly to damp and mould.
The answer to the question is yes….and no. Or it depends. Or any other frustrating answer. The truth is that if your tenant is keeping the property in a poor state like this….
….then it could reasonably be argued that the damp or condensation is not the landlords fault. However, if the property is relatively tidy, with a sensible number of occupants, then the landlord will struggle to put all the fault on the tenant unless they can prove they have taken all reasonable steps to ensure damp is not a problem.
The only way to be sure is to have a full damp survey confirming that the ventilation is adequate and the damp is under is controlled.
Generally speaking, tenants tend to complain most loudly about mould in the property. This is understandable since the NHS themselves state that mould is harmful to health (see here) so any mould can be cause for concern. On a damp survey, we seek to establish first if the mould is acceptable or above what we consider ‘normal’ levels of mould. This is a bit of a subjective view, however, after carrying out thousands of damp surveys it is possible to get a good sense of this. For example:
Condensation on a bedroom window with some light mould on the frame is very much a normal part of life.
This is an extreme example of heavy mould on a ceiling and clearly this is unacceptable.
The landlords damp survey on the tenants property will include a full assessment of any structural defects often carried out using a thermal imaging camera, water ingress, humidity in the property, the ventilation installed, the lifestyle of the occupants and any other items which the tenant is a contributing factor (such as windows or insulation).
Following the survey you will receive a report with a simple traffic light rating system to highlight the key issues. This will form part of your action plan to tackle the problem and engage with your tenants to keep them happy.