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Damp and mould issues, worried about deposit!

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  • Damp and mould issues, worried about deposit!

    My partner and I moved into a privately let property approximately 4 weeks ago.
    The property is an 1920's terraced house (I think) split into several flats/studios. We rent most of the ground floor consisting of our bedroom, bathroom and private landing with stairs which leads to the converted basement, an open plan fitted kitchen/dining/living space.
    Upon viewing the property we noticed damp on the bathroom ceiling, of course we questioned this and the Landlord stated that there had been a leak/flood in the bathroom above due to the bath not being sealed correctly. He assured us that the damp had been dealt with (dried out etc.) and that he would paint the bathroom ceiling before we move in. There was also no sealant around the bath edge's, we pointed this out and he said that could be sorted.

    There was a few minor signs of damp within the property, (flaky paint, a slight bit under the window) but as we were desperate for somewhere to live, the place was nice and we wouldn't be there long we decided to take it.

    So the day arrived to sign contracts, receive keys and look through the inventory. Indeed the ceiling had been painted which looked much better, although there was still no silicone sealant around the bath. We told the Landlord that it needed doing and we would be away for the weekend prior to moving in, that way it would have time to dry. On our return the sealant had been applied.

    The issues we now face.....
    We have been living in the property for about 4 weeks now and the damp/mould has come back with a vengeance on the bathroom ceiling. There is no window, just a small extractor fan that we try to have on as much as reasonably possible.

    Although our biggest worry is downstairs in the basement kitchen, damp and mould has spread from the ceiling down the wall (This is around the area of our bathroom above). You can see there is vast amount of water and the orange and green mould growing does not look healthy. This mould and damp grew quite quickly over a period of about 2 weeks.

    I am concerned that when we inform the Landlord of these issues he will try and put the fault/responsibility upon us. (Possibly accusing us of flooding the bathroom and try to charge us for solving the issues.)

    I have several thoughts:
    -It may be a leak outside (the back which we can not access), drainage pipes, cracks etc... Which has caused the damp to seep down our wall, especially as it is a basement.
    -The leak/flood that occurred before we moved in may have leaked down our bathroom wall (which we cannot see as there is tiles present) and seeped down into the kitchen area.
    -The damp may have already been present, the Landlord could have cleaned it and painted it to hide it during viewings. It is evident that he had not dealt with the bathroom ceiling correctly, he has just covered it with paint. Has he done this in the kitchen as well?

    Please do you have any advice? I am worried about our health and our deposit. We are not in the financial situation to lose a deposit for something that was not caused by ourselves.
    Any feedback would be appreciated.

    (United Kingdom)

  • #2
    Re: Damp and mould issues, worried about deposit!

    You have a number of options open to you but just remember some landlords just give notice to tenants who complain. But saying that after reading your post this doesn't look like normal condensation problem and is likely to need major works to rectify.

    You can call your local council (housing dep't) and explain the situation and they should come out and give a independent opinion. They can even force your landlord to do certain works.

    You need to take photos of the mould and report the problem to the landlord in writing but also mention your concerns you had before moving in.

    Did your landlord protect your deposit correctly in a deposit scheme and also give you the prescribed information? If not your landlord cannot give you notice via a section 21 notice. You also have the legal right to claim up to 3x the value of the deposit taken from the landlord.

    Was a inventory done on the property before you moved in that both parties signed? If not the landlord cannot make deductions from your deposit because he cant prove the condition before you moved in.

    You also need to show you have done all the normal things to stop the condensation such as:
    1 Not drying clothes inside.
    2 Using a condensing tumble dryer or a vented outside one.
    3 opening windows when cooking
    4 Heating and ventilating the property correctly
    5 Maybe using a dehumidifier.

    You could also get your own independent opinion from a surveyor if the landlord insists it is your fault but let him know in writing before hand that you will be seeking repayment of the cost if it proves there is a fault with the property.

    Another option is asking to be released from your contract and find a better property but get the council round first so it is on their radar.