Although the condition of rental housing in the UK has significantly improved over the past few decades, one problem still affects both tenants and landlords: mould.
The fact that both landlords and tenants are accountable for preventing mould growth is a major concern in this situation. Due to the ease with which one can place blame on the other, the mould problem may worsen as a result of both parties choosing to criticise one another rather than cooperating to find a solution.
Certainly, the responsibilities of a landlord and a renter are different, but each has a role to perform. We’ll discuss and define who is in charge of what in today’s post, as well as offer advice on what to do if your landlord or tenant isn’t doing their fair share.
Let’s start now!
Mould and moisture are frequently a result of various factors in residential properties
It’s essential that we address the potential causes of the issue before examining the specific obligations tenants and landlords have in relation to mould growing in rented housing. Although there are various factors that can contribute to the growth of mould, they can all be divided into three major groups: condensation, rising damp, and penetrating dampness.
Let’s examine each in more detail:
Definitely, the most frequent cause of homes becoming damp and allowing mould to grow is condensation. Although the issue, like many other causes of dampness and mould, is not unique to rental properties, some of the worst cases do sadly arise there.
The good thing is that, although it does require care and effort to prevent it, condensation is typically the easiest of the three types to treat. Controlling condensation is typically an ongoing process rather than a one-time remedy.
Both the landlord and the renter may be responsible for condensation-related dampness and mould, but it is important to determine what created the problem in the first place. Later, we’ll talk more about this.
Rising Damp is much more challenging to manage than condensation, but fortunately, it also occurs much less frequently. The term “rising damp” refers to a condition in which ground moisture penetrates a building’s brickwork and walls and rises to the surface. This is accomplished through capillary action.
Old houses are frequently associated with rising damp, although newer residences can also be impacted. This is particularly true if the property has undergone rigorous repairs that could have harmed the DPC (Damp Proof Course), a substance that forms a barrier for rising moisture and is water-resistant and non-absorbent.
Rising damp is often the landlord’s problem to fix, 99 times out of 100. The tenant may be at fault in some uncommon circumstances if they have interfered with the DPC in some way, although this isn’t typically the case.
Compared to rising damp, penetrating damp is a little easier to deal with, but the problem still needs to be addressed at its source.
Although certain issues, which usually have to do with the plumbing system of the house, can cause penetrating damp to occur inside as well, this type of damp happens when water is actually entering the structure of the property, as the name implies.
The most frequent causes of penetrating damp are things like leaking pipes or missing slates on the roof, all of which fall under the category of “repairs.” This means that the landlord, not the tenant, is in charge of dealing with penetrating damp.
Persistent damp and mould issues effects on health
While having mould and dampness in the house is unpleasant, their presence also has negative effects on our health.
The most common side effect of a mould and damp problem is respiratory distress, with those who are exposed to mould more likely to develop allergies, asthma, and infections. As a result, the immune systems might be compromised.
The most vulnerable people are youngsters and the elderly, while people who already have respiratory issues or underlying medical conditions like eczema are also recommended to avoid dampness and mould whenever possible.
So who is responsible for mould?
We’ve previously discussed a couple of situations where responsibilities are clearly obvious, but let’s go over both parties’ mould-busting tasks in more detail.
Tenant Responsibilities Regarding Mould in a Rented Property
Most of the time, tenants’ top priority in managing mould and moisture will be to prevent condensation in the house. While problems like insufficient insulation or malfunctioning heating systems, which are within the landlord’s responsibility, can result in condensation, daily living is typically to blame.
Tenants can control condensation by regularly taking care of two important areas: heating and ventilation. As there will be fewer cold spots and less moisture in the air — the two elements required for condensation to happen — keeping your home warm and well-ventilated will greatly improve the situation.
You can include the following methods to minimize moisture in your daily life:
- When taking a shower, keep the bathroom door closed, and afterwards, open a window or turn on an extractor fan to fully ventilate the room.
- In order to get rid of the moisture from the room, use a dehumidifier or dry clothes outside whenever possible.
- When cooking, cover your cooking pots with lids to prevent too much steam from escaping.
- Every morning, clean the windows and leave them open for 10 minutes.
- Keep furniture 10 to 15 cm away from exterior walls to give it room to breathe and prevent the development of a microclimate.
Condensation can be controlled with a few simple lifestyle adjustments, such as those mentioned above. These must be followed because they will probably be included in your tenancy agreement.
This is known as acting like a good renter, and it is your job to do your part as much as it is the landlords’ to do theirs.
Landlord Duties Regarding Mould in a Rented Property
When mould and dampness issues affect the tenant’s health and safety, or are the result of a property issue that can be fixed by a repair, the landlord is required to take action.
From the moment the leasing begins to the moment it ends, the landlord must make sure any property they rent to a tenant is safe for occupancy. The Houses (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act of 2018 applies to this.
The following are only a few examples of common repairs:
- The bathroom or kitchen’s fans are broken.
- Poor heating systems
- problems with the gutters
- worn-out window frames
- plumbing leaks inside
- issues with the roof
- big wall cracks on the exterior
In contrast to a common belief, most landlords will go out of their way to ensure their tenants’ demands are met, so tenants should not be afraid to bring issues to the attention of their landlords if they believe they need to be addressed. Because a tenant’s property is an investment, most landlords are going to look after it just as much as tenants want a safe place to live.
Here, communication is vital. Tenants should be as specific as possible about the issue and how it affects them. At this time, they should also bring up any impact the dampness and/or mould have done on their personal property. Even if major repairs are not required, many landlords are open to the idea of carrying out some minor improvements to the house, such as better insulation or ventilation.
All done! Now that damp and mould problems in a rented home or flat have been addressed, all parties should be aware of their respective responsibilities.
Contact Western Lettings Glasgow If you’re a prospective landlord or tenant and you’d like to speak to a highly-rated independent letting agent in Glasgow. Our award-winning team would love to add you to our long list of happy clients.