Black mould: The landlord's or tenant's problem? | Discuss

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Black mould: The landlord's or tenant's problem?
12/01/2015
1:53 pm
News @ Tenant Referencing
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Landlords: if your tenants haven’t started complaining about damp yet then prepare yourself- the coldest months of the year are coming and along with them waves of black mould.

During the winter one in four homes in the UK suffer from damp and mould and the percentage is higher in rented property. Mould can cause a variety of health problems such as infections, asthma, allergies and sinusitis.

In fact, black mould is considered a class 1 hazard under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).

So, whose problem is it?

The majority of mould is caused by condensation, and this often implies that it is the fault of the tenant as the problems are environmental rather than structural. In these cases tenants produce large amounts of humidity that then condense on cold surfaces in the home such as windows and outside walls. This humidity is produced when tenants cook on the hob, when they use the shower, when they dry clothes inside, even when they breathe.

A certain amount of lifestyle changes can be made. Clothes should not be dried in the property so it is sensible for landlords to supply a tumble dryer as drying clothes inside the property on radiators is the biggest cause of condensation. Tenants should also be advised to keep the door closed when cooking and showering and to open the window when finished to allow steam to escape.

However, condensation is a life-style issue and it is important that tenants and landlords work together to overcome it. Tenants should be expected to follow common sense and any written instructions provided by the landlord and the landlord should fit condensation units and fans to the areas that are affected the worst.

It is important to note that although it is difficult to ascertain blame it is often the landlord’s duty to rectify damp  problems. Under the Housing Act 2004 landlords are responsible for environmental hazards such as mould as it may be caused by a lack of damp proofing or poor ventilation. But they cannot do this without the co operation of the tenant as noted above.

It is also extremely important to take reports of mould seriously. Landlord Referencing Services recently reported that a landlord was fined £20,000 for renting a severely damp property for two years and ignoring council requests. There have been cases where tenants have successfully sued their landlord for damages after renting properties riddled with black mould.

If you have a problem with damp and mould in your property then Dampcure-Woodcure/30 Ltd has the solution. With over 55 years of experience they cover;

Condensation control.

Damp proofing

Basement waterproofing

Damp Course installation

Timber Treatment for Dry Rot, Wet Rot and Woodworm.

 Plastering

 Damp Proofing and Timber treatment 20 year Guarantee

Basement Waterproofing – 10 year guarantee (unless otherwise advised in our report)

And all guarantees are insurance backed unless otherwise advised

Find out more about what Dampcure-Woodcure/30 Ltd  can do for you here

 

Let directory .com

12/01/2015
4:33 pm
landladyshaunasd1011
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Mould is such a nightmare as a landlord. It’s very difficult to get rid of and sometimes tenants don’t tell you about it until it’s really bad. I’d much rather prevent the problem than have to go through trying to fix it. 

12/01/2015
5:21 pm
justiceyearner
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My tenants complained of mould a year ago. I pointed out that having 4 saucepans on the hob, without pan lids, without the extractor fan on, and without a window open were major contributory factors. Then, out of the bathroom came the other tenant. There was so much steam! Again, asked why extractor fan was not being used; blank look response. I had air vents (3) put in the loft; had the areas treated with alkaline and repainted the following day. They complained again on 20 December: same scenario. A survey was done on the property 3 years ago, no damp; the property has been in my family since 1937, no damp ever during that time. It is infuriating when tenants do not listen and heed advice given. Their complaint is damp; the evidence points to condensation. What else can we do? I don’t want to be going through this every year.

13/01/2015
4:31 pm
Patricia A
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I give my tenants leaflets on mold, condensation and using de humidifiers instead of tumble dryers 

I use de humidifiers myself and they do stop mold by drying the air.  They also dry washing without using a tumble dryer and make the house warmer

http://www.which.co.uk/home-an…..explained/

14/01/2015
10:09 am
Charline
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I am a bit of a hypochondriac and mould is something I can not stand and if the housing I rent or I am about to rent has it – I’m done with it. I used to live in this lovely flat in central London but at one point I guess the kitchen insulation failed and by the time I noticed it there was more mould than I would be willing to accept so I simply found another housing. I personally think black mould is dangerous, since I have a friend that got major health because of it…….

14/01/2015
1:08 pm
David Price
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Charline said
I am a bit of a hypochondriac …….

Try taking a placebo, cured my hypochondria in one dose. Smile

14/01/2015
1:14 pm
Charline
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David Price said

Charline said
I am a bit of a hypochondriac …….

Try taking a placebo, cured my hypochondria in one dose. Smile

Come on! 
This is serious.
Black mould can cause a number of problems..
mould effects at medicine.net
mould info at wikipedia

and there’re tons of other resources out there..

14/01/2015
1:24 pm
brassedoffbritain
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Charline you are right it is serious.  In my youth a chilsd in school had an asthma attack and every child in the playground gathered to watch. These days many, many children carry a inhaler because asthma has increased so much.  I’m not sure why this is since homes are now warmer but I agree that landlords need to understand the possible health affects on our tenants and do whatever we can to prevent black mould.

Unfortunately my experience is that it is mainly tenant caused because they don’t get it that ventilation is important even in winter and they must not disable the extraction that landlords fit.

I have had, cling film on the vents, shower caps, bin bags……….

By the way David is a great landlord but has a particular sense of humour – its how veteran landlords survive!!!! Keep us smiling David I always enjoy your one liners 

14/01/2015
1:27 pm
Amy
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Mold is bad. It can give you Candida Albicans 

It affects your lungs when you inhale the spores and overtakes your immune system gradually  , can cause migraines and sickness (actual vomiting)  It lives on yeast and sugar that you eat. 

I had it when i lived in a 1950’s end bedroom , it was on the wall and i must have inhaled it.

That why someone said you must put bleach on a sponge and dab it onto the mold. When it goes white it is dead and safe to remove. Wear a mask.   

For years i suffered with migraines and sickness sessions as if i was hung over. 

A friend advised me to keep a food record of what i ate when i got my bouts of sickness and migraines

Mushrooms. Wine. Bread. Tomatoes. Eggs. Sugar. I had a long list of allergies

Upon research and some info from the American Health sites we found the cause. 

I went on a yeast free diet and Aloe Vera. After a month. No more migraines,  no sickness, the first time for years.

When you have a blood test in America they test for fungal infections in the blood. 

14/01/2015
1:39 pm
Amy
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I don’t know why but America takes things so much more seriously than we do in the UK.

Their police are tougher, no nonsense. Have you  used American airports?  Wow! 

They have teenage curfews in suburbs where youth gangs hang out. 

They have a lot more fire prevention things and stuff for the domestic kitchen that puts out fires than we do. 

They treat their health the same. My friend who travels a lot always goes into a corner drug store (our chemist) when she is over their and books a blood test. Yes, you can just have it done at the chemist. You do have to pay . No waiting in queues at the doctors and having to have a good excuse for wanting a blood test. A plain blood test costs the doctor £45. I was refused a particular blood test because it was expensive.  I offered to pay but they said no. 

They test the blood for every conceivable disease going. 

They also do pre wedding DNA tests on people who are getting married (for a price of course) so that they do not get any nasty surprises when a baby is born . They will advice about the ‘maybe’ consequences of having a baby if the couples DNA is not compatible.

Off my soap box now. Smile

14/01/2015
1:54 pm
David Price
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Charline said

David Price said

Charline said
I am a bit of a hypochondriac …….

Try taking a placebo, cured my hypochondria in one dose. Smile

Come on! 
This is serious.
Black mould can cause a number of problems..
mould effects at medicine.net
mould info at wikipedia

and there’re tons of other resources out there..

Black mould is serious, hypochondria is a state of mind.  Please do not take an intended witty comment (hence the smiley) so seriously for if you do this whole forum will be a very dull place.

14/01/2015
2:13 pm
Karren
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The tenants in my property did not even report that black mould had grown in 3 weeks on the walls of 4 rooms, it was picked up during an inspection. We assumed at first that due to the severity there had to be an underlying cause so instead of the family ( all trade folk) going to see the problem we sent independent builders to assess and report back. It was found that the tenants had been drying clothes on the radiators, not ventilating, not using any of the extraction fans and they were the main cause of the problem. They had not even attempted to kill the mould. I had them sent black mould cleaner, cleaning equipment and a de humidifier by next day post and they refused to sign for it. The builders tried to gain access to put in forced ventilation and various other things like trickle vents to try and ease the issue and they refused access. I spoke to environmental health too as I am assuming the tenants were going to try and claim disrepair for not paying their rent.

3 months later I am in the eviction process and god knows how bad the property will be when we manage to get inside but in my opinion there is no way a LL can be at fault in these situations as the tenants need to accept their lifestyle choices can cause condensation mould.

Who doesn’t clean mould when it appears or even report it? YUCK! Yell

14/01/2015
2:47 pm
Beth
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As a tenant the problem with dehumidifiers is that they’re expensive to run! I don’t think they can realistically be considered a long term solution

14/01/2015
3:41 pm
Karren
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The cost of running a de humidifier can be offset by the savings a tenant would make on their heating bills. Dry air stays warm longer than moist air so the need to turn the heating on as frequently would be reduced.

On the other side if things, the cost of repairing the damage left by a tenant because they don’t ventilate or follow advice is a lot higher than the running cost of a dehumidier.  

14/01/2015
5:12 pm
David Price
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beth said
As a tenant the problem with dehumidifiers is that they’re expensive to run! I don’t think they can realistically be considered a long term solution

Beth everything electrical in your property is a ‘heater’ even the refrigerator (law of conservation of energy).  Electricity used in a dehumidifier is not wasted, it serves to heat the room so the true cost of running a dehumidifier is only the difference between the cost of electricity and gas, assuming of course that you have gas as the main source of heat.  In my all electric flats the extra cost of running a dehumidifier is zero.

14/01/2015
7:44 pm
Amy
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David Price said

Charline said

David Price said

Charline said
I am a bit of a hypochondriac …….

Try taking a placebo, cured my hypochondria in one dose. Smile

Come on! 
This is serious.
Black mould can cause a number of problems..
mould effects at medicine.net
mould info at wikipedia

and there’re tons of other resources out there..

Black mould is serious, hypochondria is a state of mind.  Please do not take an intended witty comment (hence the smiley) so seriously for if you do this whole forum will be a very dull place.

David. We all know you SmileLaugh

14/01/2015
7:48 pm
Amy
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Has anyone given a  tenant a S21 for not taking advice about condensation and won damages in court? 

We all have our ‘terms’ on the AST’s but they are not worth a light. 

Can you imagine, its against the law not to pay a restaurant bill and the coppers say to the owner ‘well its really only a term we cant enforce it’ 

15/01/2015
7:13 am
Karren
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Amy said
Has anyone given a  tenant a S21 for not taking advice about condensation and won damages in court? 

I have added this onto the section 8 that has been issued to my tenants and the solicitor will be pursuing damages so in a few weeks we shall see if it’s successful or not. Confused

15/01/2015
9:57 am
David Price
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Karen I wish you luck with your section 8, it is something I have only used once; I spent an uncomfortable half hour in front of a judge who was trying to find any reason to reject the submission but eventually gave me judgement.  The tenant then offered to pay £3 per week for seven years.

I have assisted several colleagues (as a McKenzie friend) with section 8’s and universally each case has been rejected on a technicality.  The court waiting room has notices advising tenants that free lawyers are available just for the asking, landlords have to pay their lawyers.  All the evictions are still ongoing more than a year after they started and meanwhile no rent is paid.

Section 21 as anyone on the forum will advise is much easier as the tenant has no defence.  I appreciate that your tenant may still be in the fixed period but it may still be quicker to wait and issue a section 21.

15/01/2015
10:57 am
rigsby
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David I think you have been unlucky with your s8’s I have used them a number of times very successfully. I agree the judges will try to find a reason to strike it out but if its a mandatory ground and you can prove it they have to give a possession order. The arrears generally you are very unlikely to collect on.

I had one just before xmas on 9th dec and the judge wasn’t keen on giving a P/O on the 23rd dec (2 days before xmas) But I argued my case (respectfully) and explained the court had to give a 14 order unless exceptional hardship was proved which the tenant did try with the help of the Shelter rep but IBS I argued wasn’t exceptional and I got the possession order.

I acknowledge another judge could have sent me packing with a flea in my ear.

The only think you have to watch out for is a dis-repair counter claim or if the tenant has a specialist property solicitor which happened to me once and he ran rings round me.  

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