Severe damp in rented house: What are our legal rights?
January 11, 2009 6:00 AM   Subscribe

We rent a shared house in London. There are damp issues in a downstairs room which are known about by the landlord. We have just noticed a severe case of black mould infesting an upstairs wall. What are our legal rights as tenants?

The damp has largely been ignored by our letting agent and landlord, although we do have an air dehumidifier in the downstairs room which was probably bought by them for previous tenants.

The black mould in the upstairs room is completely new and we reckon it has only appeared over Xmas whilst we were away (perhaps brought on by the cold spell the UK has had).

Having only recently signed a rental agreement and contract we now believe that we have legal rights as tenants to a damp-free environment. Is this true? Are the letting agents within their rights to just give us an air dehumidifier and leave it at that? or should we be pushing to have the whole property properly checked by an expert?

How much damp is legal and what rights do we have as UK tenants?
posted by bollockovnikov to Law & Government (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: P.S. I have seen this previous question, but it doesn't quite address my issue.
posted by bollockovnikov at 6:02 AM on January 11, 2009

Best answer: I posted some useful links in an answer to a previous question that will tell what your legal position on this. You are entitled to have this remedied in a timely manner, and can sue for compensation if this is not done and it presents a (potential) threat to your health. The dehumidifier can help prevent damp but I would have thought it unlikely it would be adequate to properly treat the existing mold. You should contact your local housing advice center to get proper advice on how to proceed. You can get advice from Shelter by email or phone if there is not a housing advice centre in your area.
posted by tallus at 6:47 AM on January 11, 2009

Best answer: Mould can be due to rising damp, a leak, or condensation on a cold wall. If it's either of the first two, it's a problem the landlord needs to fix. If it's condensation, it may well be considered your fault, especially if you turned the heating off while you were away on holiday. You can get rid of the mould by washing it off, using an antifungal spray, and then keeping the room warm and ventilated.

[Sorry this doesn't directly address your questions about legality; I think that working out the source of the damp will help clarify what your rights are.]
posted by beniamino at 8:25 AM on January 11, 2009

Another place to get advice is your local Citizen's Advice Bureau.
posted by poissonrouge at 9:16 AM on January 12, 2009

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