Damp is one of the most common problems in privately rented and social homes across England. The cold weather is a great contributor, especially if the properties do not have sufficient ventilation and efficient heating systems. Once moisture accumulates inside a house, the dampness provides the perfect environment for fungal growth.
The spores that are released from black mould can result in respiratory issues like asthma or chronic coughing, and allergic reactions like sneezing, breathing difficulties, and sinusitis. They quickly spread in homes where moisture is left ignored, causing not only severe health effects but also emotional stress as the appearance, the smell, and the overall condition of the affected home can become depressing for the tenants. For this reason, disrepair in homes can cause tenants a lot of sleepless nights.
If you’ve noticed mould growing in your home, knowing what kind it is and its possible sources will help you deal with it while waiting for your landlord to help you get rid of it completely. Rising damp, penetrating damp, and condensation all come from different sources but can all result in fungal growth inside your rented flat if neglected.
This type of damp affects older homes. Signs can usually be found below eye level on walls or floors, like the skirting boards that could be damaged because of flooding or water that seeps into the building fabric. This can happen if you have a garden beside your home with soil that is higher than your home’s floor.
Only damp experts and professional builders can help you damp-proof your home by fencing it in with a damp-proof course.
When your pipes and your roof are leaking, water can penetrate your walls through cracks and openings that are not sealed from outside of the house. Broken doors and windows that cannot be closed also allows heat to escape, causing moisture to accumulate.
A good sign of moisture in your home is seeing stains on your walls and bubbles on your wallpaper. Your wall will not only be damp but cold to the touch as well.
Your windows can fog up and have some visible droplets if you have condensation trapped inside your home. This happens when the air inside the home is not as cold as the outside. A dehumidifier will usually work with this. However, addressing the poor ventilation and lack of heating system are the more effective solutions as they target the root cause of the issue.
What you can do about the problems
As a tenant, you have a responsibility to ensure your home is properly ventilated naturally, meaning the windows are opened whenever possible, vents and air passages are not blocked, and that any source of moisture like wet laundry should not be left lying around your home.
If it is safe to do so, open your windows and door to allow air to pass through and circulate inside. Vents and extractor fans should be used in the kitchen and bathrooms.
You must inform your landlord immediately after you discover any signs of damp or mould. If they cannot fix the problem themselves, they should send someone to inspect the property within a reasonable period. Your landlord must repair the structural issues that need to be addressed immediately.
Your landlord is required by law to keep your home fit for human habitation. This means you should be living in a safe home, free from health hazards and security risks. They need to fix all the disrepair issues caused by external and (some) internal structural damages, replace or fix the central heating system if necessary, and replace the damages caused by the rising and penetrating damp.
If your landlord won’t take action
After an unsuccessful initial request from the landlord for your home repair, you can still call to make a follow up before you seek help from a law firm. Be sure to have some evidence on hand as this will make your case more plausible, to help with the potential court proceedings, if you do pursue such actions.
Ideally, you will need to forward your concerns to the local council as they can send an order to your landlord to heed your requests. However, private renters can go directly to legal experts, especially if they want to get compensated for all the health and emotional troubles that they encountered because of the disrepair.
Local council homes and those managed by housing associations must go straight to the Ombudsman to have their issue addressed.
If you do decide to move forward with a lawsuit, housing disrepair experts like the ones at DisrepairClaim.co.uk can force your landlord to carry out all the needed repair work and get you compensated at the same time.