Are Landlords Responsible for Mould?
Rising damp, mould, continual condensation on the inside of your windows; these can all affect a tenant’s standard of living on a daily basis but is your landlord responsible for putting these right, or as the tenant, will the cost, time and effort fall on your shoulders?
It’s a perennial problem and not always a clear-cut one…
Landlords are generally responsible for damp if it’s caused by external problems such as:
• A leaking roof, gutter or cracked wall
• Leaking pipes
• Rotten window frames or windows that can’t be opened
If your rental property has any of these issues, the best course of action is to call your landlord to inform them of the issue and then follow up with a written email or letter.
Your landlord should then fix the problem, whether it’s replacing any broken parts or treating any rising damp. Legal action may be an option if your landlord doesn’t deal with repairs after you’ve reported them to them in writing.
As a tenant, when would I be responsible?
On the other hand, the tenant is responsible if the damp is caused by condensation due to lack of ventilation or inadequate heating. Common examples of this are if the windows are not opened in the bathroom when it’s in use, or in the kitchen when cooking. Another frequent cause is continual drying of clothes inside, without opening a window, whilst not using adequate heating to dry them out.
Obviously, if your windows do open easily, then the best thing to do is to keep them open, even just a little and for a short while, whilst carrying out these daily chores.
Ventilation is key
If the property does have mould due to lack of ventilation, or inadequate heating on your part, it can be treated with a fungicidal wash readily available both at DIY shops and in supermarkets.
Painting over mould merely masks the problem, whilst vacuuming or brushing the mould away releases its spores into the air and could lead to breathing problems, especially in asthmatics.
A final thought
The key point is that, if there isn’t a structural issue, then the most likely reason for mould appearing is due to the temperature or ventilation of the property not being adequately controlled by the tenant.
This means the cost of treatment and redecorating could be deducted from your deposit so it’s always worth keeping your windows open as much as possible whilst you’re using the property and your heating on, even just a little, whilst drying your clothes indoors when it’s not warm outside.