‘My home is damp and mouldy. My landlord won’t fix anything..’
20 April 2018
My name is George McLoughlin and I’m a specialist housing lawyer. I am passionate and committed about trying to help my clients.
Do you live with black mould, exposed wiring, a leaking roof, rat infestation?
Are you living in similar conditions? If so, unfortunately you are not the only one. The latest figures are depressingly mind- blowing.
Recently published government figures suggest that as many as 2. 4 Million people in England live in rented home with a ‘hazard’ that poses a serious threat to the health or safety of people living in or visiting.
The English Housing Survey 2016-17, only published last month, found that 4.7 Million rented homes failed to meet the Decent Homes Standard.
The same research found that about a million homes had problems with damp; half a million had problems with rising damp, and a quarter of a million had problems with penetrating damp from defective damp proof course, roof coverings, leaking gutters or down pipes.
Research carried out by Shelter found that 48% of families in social housing who reported problems about unsafe or poor housing conditions feel ignored.
You would not believe some of the photographs that I have seen of the squalid living conditions that some tenants have to endure.
Damp and black mould not only affects the walls of your home, clothing and furniture, but often impacts upon the health of whoever is living there, especially young children, the elderly, and the most vulnerable. That impact can often lead to mental health issues.
Many landlords blame the tenants ‘lifestyle’ which causes the dreaded ‘C’ word – Condensation. In simple terms condensation occurs when there is warm moist air [which has collected excessive water from the atmosphere] which hits something cold – like a window.
If you never open a window, never use the heating, dry lots of washing on the radiator and boil lots of pans of water [without a lid] or, by the way, ….[my absolute favourite] …breath [yes breath]..there may well be an impact from condensation.
Most tenants in my experience don’t live like this. Really bad problems of damp and mould are more likely to be caused by repair issues – water that is coming into your home from the walls, through the floor, or from your roof as a result of a fault which needs to be fixed.
What can I do?
Tell your landlord if you have not already. If your landlord is reasonable chances are they will fix the problem.
If a landlord fails to carry out repairs, which have been reported to them, within a reasonable period of time you can get your local County Court to order them to carry out the repairs that are needed and you may be entitled to compensation.
If the problem is caused not by a disrepair problem but by a design fault, which may include inadequate [not faulty] heating, or lack of insulation your landlord may have an obligation to resolve the problems through your local Magistrates Court under the Environmental Protection Act.
What is the position if you are still one of those tenants feeling ignored?
I think frankly, at this point, you should be thinking about getting professional legal advice from a specialist lawyer like myself who can act on a ‘No Win No fee’ basis. I would tell you that we need to obtain a Surveyor’s report; and, I have access to excellent Surveyors who are experienced in these type of cases.
Don’t Be Afraid
The fear of intimidation or the threat of eviction from a landlord towards a tenant who is bringing a legal action against them seems to prevent millions of tenants seeking justice.
If your landlord is the Council or a Housing Association this never happens. If you have a private landlord, the good news is that the law provides you with remedies to prevent your landlord behaving in such a way.
Take action today -Don’t Delay
I have acted for hundreds of tenants who have brought successful claims against their landlords because of the state of disrepair in their home. Take action today – don’t leave it any longer.