Damp is a problem that can affect both private tenants and home owners. The problem is that if it’s someone else’s responsibility, the one affected by damp will be the one suffering. Often, this can happen to private tenants. Did you know that over 4 million households rent property in England alone? Private tenancy in England increased between 2000 and 2020 but it has decreased slightly in 2021. A drop in private tenancy at the moment is likely linked to the rise in home buying.
The rise in home buying could be due to the government’s cut in stamp duty. It’s great news for home buyers. But the stamp duty break is coming to an end soon. This will be great news for landlords, if the house market changes and more people choose to rent. But landlords need to be responsible for the welfare of their tenants. Unfortunately, some landlords are unscrupulous and fail to comply with the law.
Both landlords and tenants have responsibilities set out by the government. As a tenant, you should have a tenancy agreement that is in compliance with the law. Your home should be safe and in good living standard. Your responsibilities with your home, in relation to your landlord are set out in the tenancy agreement. Even if it isn’t included in the tenancy, you have basic responsibilities. They include taking care of the property, paying rent and paying utility bills on time. You should not sub-let the property without your landlord’s consent, and you should repair any damages you have caused.
Landlords have responsibilities usually related to the health and safety of the tenant. For instant, if there’s damp and black mould in the property, the landlord would be responsible for addressing the issue. Particularly is the tenancy agreement states that the landlord is responsible for keeping the property fit for habitation. If damp appears after the tenant moved in, the tenant must report it to the landlord. In turn, the landlord must address the issue by checking if the ventilation and heating are working properly. Windows must be in good working order, so they can be opened to allow fresh air in.
Black mould causes serious health problems, destruction of furniture and personal belongings, and also mite infestation. Symptoms that pose health risks to tenants include nasal congestion, skin rash and itching, watery eyes, chest tightness and asthma. Tenants should ensure that clothes aren’t habitually hung on radiators and particularly that the ventilators haven’t been blocked. Fresh air should be allowed in the property daily to help circulate the air.
If there’s damp and mould in your home, you need to report it to the landlord straight away. If it is caused by lack of ventilation or damage in the property, your landlord needs to address the issue. Once you report the problem to your landlord, you need to keep documentation of all communications. Most landlords care about their properties and the welfare of tenants. It’s in their interest to have high standards as landlords and to expect high standards from their tenants. But it is unfortunate when landlords are negligent and subject tenants to poor living conditions. If this is the case, a tenant can seek the advice of a property solicitor and possibly take legal action against their landlord.
Are you a private tenant affected by damp, mould or landlord disrepairs? Please get in touch for advice. We’re here to help. SG
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