01/02/2012 3:44 pm
Hi - I'd be really grateful if someone could give me some advice on this. Myself, my husband and two very small children were renting a tiny threebedroomed house in Scotland. When we first moved in every room had been freshly painted. Throughout the year it quickly became apparent that there was a horrendous damp problem and even though we alerted the landlord to this he didn't seem to do anything about it. He even tried to blame us for it saying we were causing condensation in the house by not opening windows (which we were doing)! A lot of our property was damaged and had to be thrown out as they were covered in mould. My questions is - am I entitled to ask for compensation? I've read through the (very basic) lease and it simply says he has to ensure he keeps the house wind and water tight.
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29/02/2012 1:00 pm
Damp are often mistaken for condensation as the symptomns are identical. It sounds to me that you have excessive moisture as a result of condensation build in the property. Indorder to cope with condensation your property needs to be well heated and and well ventilated and have adequate levels of insulation. Your landlord has a duty of care to ensure the propery is able to cope with condensation provided you are not miss using the property by for example drying your washing indoors.
Has your landlord sent a surveyor to inspect the problem? If you rent from a private landlord or housing assocation I would suggest getting in contact with your local environmental health office and ask them to assess it.
01/03/2012 11:44 am
A tenant can claim for compensation for damage to items of clothing, bedding. carpets, curtains and furniture that have been damaged by mould if they have given the landlord reasonable notice to rectify the problem, they would have to take pictures of the items, but wherever possible should keep these for inspection. The tenant must ensure that they are not responsible or helping to make the damp/condensation situation worse by not heating or ventilating the property correctly, they must also ensure that there is an adequate air flow around furniture i.e. wardrobes against a wall may result in mould growing on the back of the wardrobe.
The tenant should have contents insurance to claim for any damages this can then be claimed back from the landlord if it is proven that they are at fault.
A claim by a tenant to a landlord as a result of an attack of black mould in a property would normally be rejected if it was found that the damage was as a result of condensation. this would normally mean that the damage was not directly as result through any disrepair i.e. leak, etc.
A tenant is also able to submit a claim under section 79 of the 1990 Environmental Protection Act, as part of this act the issue into whether or not compensation would be granted depends upon the landlord proving that the tenants lifestyle has caused or contributed to the condensation/mould growth this includes (lack of natural ventilation i.e. opening windows, drying clothes on radiators, cooking and showering with doors open allowing moisture to travel to other rooms, using calor gas heaters, using tumble dryers which are not vented externally, overcrowding of the property) other factors to consider are lack of ventilation behind items such as wardrobes, chest of drawers etc.). This option however can be costly for the tenant to serve on the landlord.
The ability to make a claim also depends what is in the specific lease, if the lease is less than seven year's or a set period under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 the landlord will normally be responsible: for specific repairs such as keeping the structure & exterior of the property in good repair. To keep internal fitments and supplies in good working order i.e.( Gas, Electricity baths, basins, sinks , and sanitary fitments) & to ensure that space heating and any provision for heating water are repaired and working correctly.
Best practice that a landlord should investigate any reports of "damp" most of these are as a result of condensation, advising tenants on how to reduce this problem i.e. ventilation, using heating correctly and ensuring the property has sufficient insulation. However, if the report of damp is as a result of suspected rising or penetrating damp, the landlord should utilise the resource of a specialist Damp Proof Course and Condensation Contractor to undertake a survey of the property and to provide a detailed report on any remedial works require. A copy of which is passed to the tenant with explanation.
06/03/2012 8:31 am
The law in England and Wales states that in respect of tenancies for less than 7 years a landlord must keep in repair the structure and exterior of the property as well as installations in the dwelling for the supply of heating and hot water. This applies irrespective of what is stated in the lease or tenancy agreement. If the dampness is due to a failure by the landlord to repair the walls or windows or defective heating then this is caught by the implied obligation I have just set out. If the condensation is due to factors such as inadequate ventilation without any damage to the structure and exterior of the property then the landlord is not liable. In such circumstances where the state of the premises is prejudicial to health or a statutory nuisance it is possible to take criminal proceedings in the magistrates court. I am unclear of the legal position in Scotland. However in determining the way forward, it is important to ascertain the cause of the dampness. Please go and see a specialist housing solicitor.
10/07/2012 2:39 pm
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