Who is Responsible for Mould in a Rental Property?
Living in a property with mould growing on the walls or other surfaces can damage the occupants’ health. It might also affect the value of the property if you choose to sell it or the rent you can command on it. Mould is a fungus and is caused by a damp problem, which can be due to a number of different issues in the home. So who is responsible for mould in a rental property, how can you treat it and, most importantly, how can you prevent it?
The answer to who takes responsibility for mould is a tricky one because it depends on the circumstances that led to the fungus growth. Keep reading to find out when mould should be resolved by the landlord or letting agent and when the tenant is deemed to have caused the problem.
When Landlords and Letting Agents Are Responsible for Mould in a Rental Property
Put simply, if the damp that causes the mould is the result of a structural issue with the property then the landlord or letting agent are responsible. Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states that the landlord must ensure the “structure and exterior of the dwelling-house” is kept in good working order.
This means that problems such as leaking pipes and guttering, or rising damp must be addressed by the landlord or letting agent. It is advised that you seek expert advice on the damp issue to best plan the necessary repairs. Once there is a diagnosis, you can carry out the appropriate work to address the damp and prevent mould growing inside the property.
You may have to repair a broken damp proof course, fix a broken heating system, replace leaking pipework, replace roof tiles and sure up guttering, fill cracks in walls or replace rotten window frames. There are many possible structural causes of damp, all of which can lead to an outbreak of mould. Once the damp is addressed, the landlord is also responsible for redecorating the damaged areas.
Landlords and letting agents are duty bound under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to deal with damp. It is a time-consuming task, but an essential one. To free up your time, you can outsource your property management to Executive Property Management Solutions, which includes building maintenance. Stay on the right side of the law without taking yourself away from the important matters of building your business and bringing in new clients. Contact us today to find out more about what we can offer you.
When Tenants Are Responsible for Mould in a Rental Property
There is one major instance in which tenants are responsible for mould in a rental property. That is when their lifestyle contributes to unnecessary condensation in the dwelling. It is the duty of renters to “act in a tenant like manner” and ensure they take measures to ventilate the property and heat it sufficiently.
Condensation occurs when excess moisture in the air hits a cold surface such as a window or wall in a room that is not adequately warm. This, in turn, can lead to mould developing on the resulting damp surfaces. The sorts of activities that contribute to additional moisture are showering and bathing, cooking and drying clothes indoors.
It is worth noting that not all instances of condensation are the responsibility of tenants. If the condensation comes as a result of a lack of adequate ventilation, insufficient insulation or faulty heating equipment, the landlord or letting agent may be liable instead.
How to Prevent Mould in a Rental Property
The question of who is responsible for mould in a rental property is tricky, but it is preventable if you work together. The best way to avoid mould caused by structural issues is to keep on top of maintenance. You should fix leaking pipes and broken guttering before they have a chance to lead to damp. In addition, making sure you regularly service boilers and other heating devices to ensure they are effective and continue to help avert the build up of mould.
On the part of tenants, they should always use extractor fans when cooking, bathing or showering. They could also close internal doors when cooking, use lids for boiling pans, open the windows in bedrooms for a short time in the morning and dry clothes outside or in a vented dryer if possible. Tenants should also keep the property heated properly, to ensure the surfaces aren’t so cold that even minimal moisture in the air forms as condensation.
These are requirements that tenants should undertake to avoid condensation and mould in the property that are not caused by structural issues. However, landlords or letting agents cannot be unreasonable in their requests. An example of this would be to demand tenants dry clothes outside when there is no outside space in which to do so.
For help with maintenance take a look at our property management packages and contact us on 0208 5757630 today.