Who’s Responsible For Damp and Mould in a Rented Home?
Once a new tenant is moved in, they expect a certain level of cleanliness to be present in their new home. Whether they’re moving into a house, flat, shared space or entire property, this expectation isn’t likely to change.
As a result, the landlord’s duty of care must take into consideration how a dirty home can impact the tenant’s help. This includes the development of mould in a property, as a mould issue can quickly get out of control and become damaging to the tenant’s health.
To ensure UK landlord mould responsibility tasks don’t miss the mark, Rainbow International has all the information you will need to ensure mould issues don’t become a common occurrence within your rental properties, including:
- What is mould?
- What causes damp and mould?
- Who is responsible for mould?
- How long do landlords have to fix mould?
- What are the health risks of mould?
- Can mould cause long-term structural damage?
- What should a landlord do if a tenant’s house has mould?
- What are the tenant’s responsibilities?
What is Mould?
Understanding exactly what mould is is the first step to being able to correctly tackle any issues that may arise or that your tenants have highlighted to you.
Mould in a home is a type of fungus that feeds off of dead organic material and uses it to grow and spread. It’s most likely to be found in damp and humid conditions, which is why a home is a common place to find mould. The moisture and warmer air along with materials such as wood, wallpaper, furniture and upholstery that are often in the home are perfect conditions and food for mould to grow.
What Causes Damp & Mould?
Damp conditions are more likely to produce a mould problem, along with other structural and aesthetic issues. To maintain the landlord’s duty of care and to keep mould issues at bay, being aware of the following causes for damp and mould can help to fix the problem before it gets out of hand. They’re also key elements for your tenants to consider, especially if the discussion of who has responsibility for mould arises.
Condensation is the most common form of damp in rented properties and it often appears on windows or cold walls thanks to excess moisture in the air coming into contact with the cold surfaces. This can lead to mould growth and can be worsened by tenants not adequately ventilating the property, or if the landlord hasn’t properly insulated the property or has faulty ventilation systems.
Common with older properties, rising dampness is a difficult type of damp to deal with as it’s caused by unavoidable groundwater finding its way into the foundations of a home. As it soaks up through the bricks and concrete, it creates structural issues and is the landlord’s duty of care to carry out work if local authority checks find the damp is becoming a hazard.
Repair issues can lead to penetrating dampness in a property, as the water comes through external walls, the roof or via internal leaks due to plumbing issues. This is the landlord’s mould responsibility to resolve and avoid the damp becoming mould.
Who Is Responsible For Mould And Damp?
There can be some level of confusion between the party that is deemed responsible for damp and mould development within a rental property. Simply put, the landlord is responsible to resolve the issue if it’s determined to be due to rising or penetrating dampness. Otherwise, it’s a discussion to be done between the landlord and the tenants to determine if it was caused by their lifestyle, or if a further investigation needs to be done.
How Long Do Landlords Have To Fix Mould?
Tenants must tell their landlord if they’ve spotted mould in the property immediately and should provide a full explanation, description and detailing of any affected areas. As a landlord, mould responsibility requires them to respond within 14 days and to arrange an inspection to determine the cause of the dampness or mould and arrange necessary repairs.
What Are The Health Risks of Mould?
Mould can begin to have a serious impact on those living around it, as it can irritate respiratory systems and trigger a variety of health issues within a person’s body. These can include respiratory infections, asthma, allergic reactions, burning eyes, irritated skin, coughing, sneezing, wheezing breath and even depression.
Different people are more at risk and these include:
- Older people
- Babies and children
- People with respiratory issues
- People with weakened immune systems
- People with sensitive skin
Can Mould Cause Long-Term Structural Damage?
Mould can also cause long-term structural damage if it’s left unchecked and untreated. This is due to the way mould spreads and consumes organic materials (usually used in construction) creating a problem throughout the building. This is why the landlord’s mould responsibility tasks include an inspection for this reason, to avoid the following potential structural issues a property can face when dealing with mould.
What Should a Landlord Do If a Tenant’s House Has Mould?
A landlord mould responsibility task includes ensuring that the tenant’s home is free of any hazards and is safe to live in. This is also true, unless you have a fixed term tenancy which began before the 20th of March in 2019, that your landlord must make sure your home is fit to live in throughout your tenancy.
The most common repairs a landlord will be making for their tenants include:
- Leaking internal pipes
- Broken heating systems
- Missing roof tiles or faulty guttering
- Cracked walls or rotten window frames
The most common improvements a landlord will make for their tenants include:
- Sealant on the window and door frames
- Improvement of ventilation systems
- Repainting walls and fixing plaster
- Skirting board and flooring improvements
What Are The Tenant’s Responsibilities?
However, outside of the landlord’s duty of care, the tenant’s responsibilities for keeping the home in a fit state to live in to avoid any mould issues arising include:
- Maintaining the home
- Keeping it clean and tidy
- Conducting safety checks on personal electrical appliances
- Maintaining outdoor spaces
- Ventilating the space properly
- Changing light bulbs and alarm batteries
Rainbow International Is Here To Help UK Landlords
The implications of mould damage can become a costly issue for landlords and a mentally and physically stressful situation for tenants.
Avoid the spread of mould and damp throughout the property with the help of Rainbow International’s team. Our experts can spot the causes of damp and mould within a property, resolve the issue and rid the property of any mould.
Working quickly and efficiently, the specialist equipment we use means you can be sure the job is done to the highest standard. So, if you’re a landlord or if you’re responsible for domestic and residential properties, get in touch with our helpful team today to find out more about how we can support you.