Tenants’ rights for mould and damp: What do you need to know?

damp

damp

Mould and dampness can be caused by everyday activities, like cooking, showering and even leaving your bedroom windows closed all day long. Once mould and damp appear, you are at risk of several health conditions and damage to the structure of your property.

If you are currently renting a property, you need to make sure your home is properly ventilated to prevent damp and mould from accumulating. Here are a few things to bear in mind when dealing with mould and damp at home.

What causes mould and damp?

Mould accumulates in damp conditions, particularly in bathrooms and on windows. Condensation is the most common form of damp, which usually builds from lack of ventilation at home. Always open your bedroom windows for at least five minutes every morning to minimise the effect of condensation. You should use extractor fans in your kitchen and bathroom and close internal doors when cooking and showering to contain the steam.

If you have outdoor space and warm weather, try to dry your clothes outside or use a vented tumble dryer. Avoid laying clothes on your radiator to dry them, as this can increase your energy consumption and minimise the heating effect of the radiator. Try to leave a gap between your furniture and external walls to keep your home airy and fresh.

However, sometimes even after doing all of these things, damp and mould can still be present in your home. In these cases, consult a damp expert to identify the cause and how you can fix it. For example, it may be that your windows are old and damaged and need replacing to prevent moisture from leaking in.

Please bear in mind that a newly built property may be damp and mouldy if the water used during construction is still drying out.

How does mould affect your health and home contents?

Damp and mould in your home are more likely to impact babies and older adults or those with weakened immune systems. The presence of damp can make residents more likely to suffer from respiratory problems, infections and asthma.

Mould produces allergens that can be toxic to touch or inhale, causing you to sneeze or get a skin rash. You may feel like you have a cold or the flu from inhaling toxic mould fumes.

What procedures should tenants take against this problem?

Renting a home comes with a few challenges – especially when consulting your landlord about issues in the property. Your landlord should fix damp if it is impacting your health and safety. However, you are required to properly ventilate your home to minimise the risk of damp. This may be referred to as ‘acting in a tenant like manner’ in your contract.

If you notice mould in your property, the first thing you should do is see if damp and mould are covered in your insurance. Renters insurance can protect your belongings and make sure your deposit is safe against any potential damage. Most policies cover water damage from leaking pipes, floods and leaky devices.

You may then need an expert witness to confirm the presence of mould in the property, also known as a mycologist.

Try to let your landlord aware of the damp as soon as possible to prevent detrimental structure damage and health problems.

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