A Tenant Has Reported Mould In My Rental Property: What You Now Must Do

A Tenant Has Reported Mould In My Rental Property: What You Now Must Do

As a landlord, you are responsible for taking immediate action when a tenant reports mould in your rental property. Take the necessary steps to address the issue as soon as possible to ensure the safety and well-being of your tenants. Mould in rental properties is a pervasive issue that can significantly impact tenant health and a landlord’s legal obligations. Recognizing and resolving mould problems promptly is crucial for maintaining a healthy living environment and adhering to legal standards set forth by UK housing regulations. This article outlines landlords’ legal responsibilities, tenants’ rights, and practical steps to tackle mould effectively. Additionally, we’ll explore common causes of mould, including how blocked gutters can contribute to this issue.

Table of Contents

Legal Responsibilities and Tenant Rights

 

Understanding the Law

Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, landlords must maintain the structure and exterior of their rental properties, including addressing problems like dampness and mould. The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 further emphasizes the need for rental properties to be free from serious health hazards, of which mould is a prime example. These laws clarify that landlords have a non-negotiable duty to ensure their properties are safe and habitable.

 

Tenant Rights

Tenants have the right to a safe and healthy living environment. When mould is present, tenants should first photograph the affected areas and then notify you as the landlord in writing. Tenants need to provide a clear account of the problem and request timely repairs or remediation. This documentation can be crucial if disputes arise or if legal action becomes necessary.

 

Landlord Obligations

Upon receiving a mould report, landlords should act swiftly to acknowledge the issue and inspect the property. Depending on the severity and the source of mould, it may be appropriate to hire a professional to assess and rectify the problem. Landlords who ignore mould complaints may face legal actions from tenants and can be held liable for health problems attributed to their negligence.

 

Steps to Address Mould Issues

Properly addressing mould begins with thoroughly inspecting the property to identify the moisture source. You will need a professional damp surveyor to inspect your property.

Once identified, it’s imperative to repair any leaks or damage contributing to mould growth. This might include fixing a leaky roof or sealing around windows and doors. Regular maintenance checks can prevent many common issues that lead to mould.

 

Common Causes of Mould in Rental Properties

 

Daily Activities and Ventilation

Mould often results from inadequate ventilation, especially in areas with common moisture-laden activities, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Landlords should ensure that their properties are equipped with functional vents and fans and that tenants use them. Educating tenants about regular ventilation during cooking, drying clothes, or after showering can also help prevent mould growth.

If after a survey from a professional mould professional determines the mould is a cause of how the tenants are living and not a property issue, you could suggest the following to the tenants: 

 

Increase Ventilation

  • Use Exhaust Fans: Always use exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms while cooking or bathing. These fans help remove moisture-laden air from the property.
  • Open Windows: Whenever possible, especially after showering or cooking, open windows to allow fresh air to circulate and reduce humidity levels inside.
  • Avoid Drying Clothes Indoors: When drying laundry inside the home, tenants should ensure the room is well-ventilated or, ideally use a tumble dryer that is vented to the outside.

Manage Indoor Humidity

  • Use Dehumidifiers: In areas prone to high humidity, using a dehumidifier can help maintain lower humidity levels, discouraging mould growth.
  • Monitor Humidity Levels: It’s beneficial to keep indoor humidity levels between 40% and 60%. Hygrometers can be used to monitor these levels, providing a clear indication when additional ventilation is needed.

Regular Cleaning

  • Clean Regularly: Regular cleaning can prevent the buildup of dust and dirt, which can provide a food source for mould. Pay particular attention to damp areas like bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Address Spills and Leaks Immediately: Any spills or leaks should be cleaned up promptly to prevent the accumulation of moisture.

Lifestyle Adjustments

  • Cook with Lids On When cooking, keeping lids on pans reduces the amount of moisture released into the air.
  • Reduce Clutter: Clutter can obstruct air flow within rooms, which helps moisture to settle and contribute to mould growth. Encouraging tenants to keep their spaces tidy can improve air circulation.

 

 

Structural Issues

Structural defects, such as cracks in walls, broken roofing tiles, or faulty plumbing, can allow moisture to enter the property and contribute to mould formation. Regular inspections and timely repairs of these issues are essential preventive measures that landlords should undertake. 

 

Blocked Gutters and Mould

One often-overlooked cause of mould is blocked gutters. When gutters are clogged with debris, water can overflow and seep into the walls and foundation of a property, creating ideal conditions for mould to thrive. Ensuring that gutters are regularly cleaned and free from obstructions is a simple yet effective way to prevent this problem. Keeping gutters clear is crucial for protecting the structural integrity of the property and preventing moisture penetration that leads to mould.

 

Hire a professional Commercial Gutter Cleaner to help if the report states there are drainage issues with the waterflow on the exterior of your property

 

Final Thoughts

Mould in rental properties is a serious issue that demands prompt and effective action. As a Landlord you must understand their legal obligations and take proactive steps to prevent mould by ensuring their properties are well-maintained and promptly addressing any signs of moisture issues. 

 

By doing so, landlords not only comply with legal requirements but also protect their investment and ensure a safe, healthy living environment for their tenants.

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