Landlords To Prevent Property Mould and Condensation Growth

As the climate changes through late autumn and into the winter, occupants increase their use of heating, while rain increases dampness both inside and outside of properties. Inevitably, this increases condensation which can cause mould problems. The first reaction, for many tenants, is to call their landlord and complain about mould growth. This common difficulty in rented and owned homes, is a problem, as assured shorthold tenancy agreements may not suggest who is responsible to clear the damage; the landlord or the tenant. Obviously, prevention is better than eradicating the problem after it has occurred.

How Is Condensation Caused?

Moist, warm air, that is created in kitchens and bathrooms, and heating systems, passes through to the colder parts of your building. Whether condensation can build, wallpaper may appear discoloured, particularly in areas behind cupboards, where the airflow is limited. The discolouration may be a patch of mould. It will continue to grow if unchecked and may be found on furnishings, carpets, inside wardrobes and quite regularly, in basements.

The risk to humans is high because mould spores travel through the air and can cause damage to an individual’s health. Excessive mould fungi can lead to allergies, asthma, infections and sinusitis. They create irritants and allergens and dangerous toxins.

Who Is Responsible?

Where this is a defect within the rental property, the landlord becomes the responsible person. Although the initial problem may be caused by a problem within the building, the main source of mould growth is caused by the occupants and the way they live within the property, with the initial condensation.

Landlords, agents and renters must be made aware of any potential problems where condensation can lead to the growth of mould. They can take the necessary action to reduce the risks and help further by organising regular inspections of the building to assess for any mould or condensation damage.

Where a property is efficiently maintained, tenants can be advised the way the condensation can be reduced throughout the building. Landlords will suggest that tenants ensure that all rooms are consistently aired to reduce the condensation and any further damage to the property.

What Can Tenants Do?

To keep themselves in good health, tenants can consistently keep windowsills and windows dry, as well as other wet surfaces. Where interior temperatures remain at a consistent level, not too hot when it is cold outside, mould growth is less likely to occur.

Tenants should dry their clothes outside or if a room must be used, then the bathroom is a good choice, keeping the window open for ventilation and the door closed to prevent mixing hot, cold and damp air throughout the property. Using an efficient extractor fan improves the reduction of condensation in the air.

Tumble dryers that are ventilated to the outside are useful, while kitchens can be ventilated by keeping windows open or using extractor fans. It is a good idea for bathrooms and kitchens to be ventilated for around 20 minutes after they have been used.

Some tenants may benefit by installing a dehumidifier taking excessive moisture out of the air, which reduces condensation.


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Why Renters Are Rebelling Against Section 21 Evictions

Pressure groups are requesting that the government eliminate the eviction notice element, known as section 21, within assured shorthold tenancies. This section allows landlords to evict perfect tenants, by presenting as little as just two months’ notice. The rules also offer no right to appeal and no assistance to fight the notice.

Tenants Are Not Protected

The pressure groups suggest that tenants are not protected satisfactorily, because landlords may simply choose to sell the property when house prices increase sufficiently. They are not considering the level of protection that good tenants require and that needs to change.

They’re asking the government to protect tenants against these short-term evictions and to offer individuals the chance of a greater permanency in their home. They propose that landlords offer more long-term home opportunities, rather than allowing investors to sell properties at short notice, when the property market conditions suit the landlord.

Statistics indicate that section 21 evictions have risen considerably in the past few years, with increases matching house price rises.

They feel that the downside to the short notice period allowed under the current rules is that when house prices are reducing, landlords wish to keep tenants who are paying rent consistently and are therefore, unlikely to sell the property. Conversely as house prices increase, landlords will look to evict their tenants so they can sell the property to gain more profits.

Data Proves the Point

The Office of National Statistics has data that shows that from early in 2008, both house prices and evictions fell. As house prices increased towards the middle of 2009, the number of evictions intensified, with both elements rising towards the end of 2009.

Statistics show that evictions related to a short notice period, via section 21, increased to 16,441 in 2015. The comparison indicates that the last time house prices were reduced significantly was in 2009, when eviction cases numbered 4,963.

As a broad average across the local authorities, when house prices increase by around 10%, evictions are seen to climb by around 60%.

The pressure groups are convinced that their research shows that section 21 evictions, connected to assured shorthold tenancies, have risen considerably in recent years and are matched by house price increases.

They will continue to fight the government’s current rules surrounding section 21 evictions until a fair version of the rules are updated. This must include a high level of safety protection for tenants who continue to pay perfectly, every month and look after the property perfectly, for the landlord.


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Fire Safety Offences Can Lead to Substantial Fines

Hammersmith Magistrates Court fined a landlord £4000 with £1500 costs for failing to deliver the correct fire protection for their tenants. This was after pleading guilty to all three charges, for offences under the Housing Act of 2004.

A fire had been found quickly, starting from a candle left alight. The fire services extinguished the fire and fortunately, there were no injuries to any of the occupants.

The investigation found that the property, let to 4 tenants, did not have the appropriate fire doors for the living room, bedrooms or the kitchen. The lack of fire doors meant that the tenants did not have a protected means of evacuation which meant the flames could quickly fill the escape route across the top floor landing.

With no wire-in detection system for fire, the tenants had no method of being warned. There were three battery-operated smoke alarms, but these had not been maintained sufficiently, allowing the batteries to run out of power and taken out by the tenants to stop the bleeping noise which should warn individuals to replace the batteries.

This case involved a professional landlord with multiple properties, operating his business for 30 years, with the rental income as his entire source of income.

Despite being highly regarded by tenants and the court receiving references from other happy tenants, the court proved that landlords must always be aware of their responsibilities towards individuals living in a tenanted property. Fortunately, no one was injured and this example shows why the correct fire procedures and equipment must be installed and maintained regularly. This also confirms that landlords breaking the law will be prosecuted after a successful investigation.


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