is this unreasonable to ask a tenant to do this.

(93 Posts)
MrsBucketxx Tue 22-Jan-13 08:48:16

Our last tenant didn't air the house leaving us with a big bill from a damp specialist to fix the damp caused by not opening windows etc.

The house is now vacant while we fix this, we want to put a clause in the next tenancy agreement to make sure the house is aired,

Is this being unreasonable , would it bother you when renting.

I dont want another massive job on my hands.

BrittaPerry Tue 22-Jan-13 15:20:47

My friend rents a house that is over 100 years old (as are most houses in the area - think rows and rows of small terraces) and there is an original drying rack winding mechanism installed. You're not telling me that was installed along with an extractor fan in 1902. We're talking terry nappies, linen and clothes for the large families that were around then in a town where it rains almost constantly and there would have been huge mills pumping out smoke.

Hold on, actually. When I was a little girl, we lived in a terrace of the same kind of age that had been built over a little stream for some reason. My dad had to replace all the floorboards bit by bit because of the damp, but then we didn't have double glazing or central heating so it was a cold house anyway. Still, it was a house problem, and they bought it cheaply because it needed work.

(I do air my house quite a lot, because otherwise it would stink of wee and I like a bit of fresh air, but I resent being told where I can dry my washing by someone I pay £600 a month to, who must only pay £300 in mortgage at the most)

I also agree with the accidental landlords thing. I have had 8 landlords, two professionals were great, another professional was ok repair wise but kept letting himself into our house, one was trying to get rich quick, buy to let, and was awful - rain coming in and refusing to mend it etc. One brilliant accidental landlord (the one I have now) and four accidental landlords who were nothing but trouble.

LIZS Tue 22-Jan-13 15:22:54

what sort of dryer ? - make sure you have an extractor near it or it may add to the problem

ISeeSmallPeople Tue 22-Jan-13 15:23:56

In 1902 there was no double glazing.
Or non breathable renders
The open fireplace breathed for the house, as did the gaps between the floorboards, & those around the windows.

Things change, not always for the better.

OP, just put the clause in & explain first.

Cosmosim Tue 22-Jan-13 15:36:55

Maybe I've been lucky (or maybe it's my non UK accent) but most landlords who have double glazing point out they insulate well but cause condensation and specifically ask if I have an issue with wiping down windows and airing. Similarly, agents have pointed out to me Victorian converted flats are noisier than I might expect and floors do creak etc. Perhaps if you grew up here, people assume by adult age this has become common sense?

And what an idiotic suggestion that rent should be lowered because you will use more electricity for a dryer. With that mindset, it will be considerably raised if the mould damage has to be taken into account as "wear and tear". Unbelievable entitlement. And then the same person will complain that LL wants to charge more for a family than two professionals who get most of their suits laundered. wink

ISeeSmallPeople Tue 22-Jan-13 15:47:56

The rent should be lowered for using electricity to run the drier, & then raised again for providing the drier, & the sunsequent lower heating bills from not having wet washing on every rad, & damp walls from doing so. Evens it out to no change smile

MrsBucketxx Tue 22-Jan-13 16:00:35

The dryer is vented outside.

Its also got a glass roofed lean too at yhe back which is a bit of a greenhouse, but its not part if the main building, clothes could be dried there.

I would never reduce the rent its low enough as it is, whoever thought a buy to ket mortgage is 300 a month fir a three bed detached in a good area is kidding themselves.

Metalhead Tue 22-Jan-13 16:00:44

The last house we rented had really bad mould in the bedrooms, which the landlord said was caused by condensation. And yes, the windows were completed covered with water in the mornings. But I wasn't prepared to freeze to death by leaving them open all night long, and the little vent things at the top of the windows made no difference whatsoever. We didn't have a tumbel dryer or kitchen extractor fan either.

In our new house, we only get a little bit of condensation in the morning, so clearly there is something different with the structure of this place that makes it less prone to mould/condensation.

I think it's very easy for landlords to blame tenants for condensation when there is nothing they can do about it. IMO it is unreasonable to expect people to have windows open all the time in winter, and just quickly opening them every day isn't going to help if the problem is really bad.

MrsBucketxx Tue 22-Jan-13 16:03:17

Hopefully the new damp system will address some of these issues in the worst places,

I dont think its too much to ask for really.

ISeeSmallPeople Tue 22-Jan-13 16:05:46

You do NOT have to leave e windows open all night or all the time.

Either open 2 windows for cross flow for 5 minutes.

Or wipe condensation off, & put wet cloth OUT to dry, not on radiator where it will go back into the air & resettle on cold places like windows.

From the very good LLzone article which I linked above

The moisture in the air comes from a number of sources within the house. Water vapour is produced in relatively large quantities from normal day to day activities - a 5 person household puts about 10 kg of water into the air every day (without taking into account any heating) - i.e.
• breathing (asleep) 0.3 kg
• breathing (awake) 0.85 kg
• cooking 3 kg
• personal washing 1.0 kg
• washing and drying clothes 5.5 kg
• heating - especially paraffin and flueless gas heaters. For every litre of paraffin burnt over one litre of moisture vaporises into air. Every carbon fuel produces some amount of water from combustion.
• (1 kg of water equates to about 1 litre)

If in current house you are not opening windows & it's not very wet on them, you will find the moisture has settled somewhere else. Check behind your wardrobe ;)

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Tue 22-Jan-13 16:07:15

I have a clause in my tenancy to air mine, think its under general care of the property. But I would do it anyway, I also Window vac the windows at least once a day. Still doesn't stop it being a big mould filled house though.

Whoever had the clause for 15 degrees - I wish I could get my house that warm!

I always wait for the slating of renters on these sort of posts, yes there's alot who don't care / know how to care for a property. But the majority I'd say are people like me, would love to buy but are stuck renting so we care for a property as its our home

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Tue 22-Jan-13 16:18:41

I rent a 150yr old cottage we struggle to keep the damp at bay in the winter, we have to keep the front bedroom window slightly ajar at all times or the side wall gets really wet, the back bedroom is fine as that's our room and the window is always open anyway, lounge we keep an oil filled radiator on which works, kitchen is fine and bathroom has to have a radiator on and window ajar, shower with extractor fan on and leave door open for 10mins after to let steam escape.

We have something in our contract about regularly airing the house and reporting damp to landlord asap.

The last tenant left it a damp mouldy mess because she had the heating on all the time and never opened a window.

Metalhead Tue 22-Jan-13 16:27:31

We DO open windows and wipe them down, but we did the same in the mouldy house. Trust me, I'd much rather live in a mould-free house! (And you could tell by the way that the mould had been there a long time and just painted over when the last tenants moved out...)

I've certainly found that this is a very common problem in the UK, whereas in my home country not so much. But then everyone there has tumble dryers...

specialsubject Tue 22-Jan-13 16:35:26

as several have pointed out -when old houses had open fires and no double glazing, they were draughty enough to keep the condensation at bay. Speak to your parents or grandparents about chilblains.

I get mould in my bedroom if I don't dry off the old wall concerned, don't heat it enough and don't ventilate it for a few minutes each morning. But I own the place so I just get on with it, I don't expect the vendor to come back and sort it out.. smile

Planning some kind of insulation on the wall, the document on mould is very much worth reading.

BrittaPerry Tue 22-Jan-13 16:58:53

I didn't say you have a £300 mortgage, I said that my landlords do. Maybe slightly more. Not £600. They bought it five years ago for £70,000 and have done about £100 of work to it over the two and a half years we have been here. They are really nice, and that is a relatively low rent fir four beds and two gardens, so we are happy too. I just don't think they get to make money off me AND tell me how to live my life.

BrittaPerry Tue 22-Jan-13 17:02:19

I care for my home as if I owned it. If I owned a house that got damp I would mend it, or maybe do a bodge of opening windows while we were out in the day. By using a home as a money maker, you forfeit the right to do bodge jobs.

Notyetthere Tue 22-Jan-13 17:13:40

I have not read all messages but my tenancy agreement does have a clause in it about airing the flat. Windowless ensuite and bathroom with open plan kitchen/dining/living but with extractor fans in all. It is common sense that all homes should be aired frequently. I don't think you are being unreasonable.

Cosmosim Tue 22-Jan-13 17:51:41

Britta, how much they paid and how much they invested in renovations are frankly none of your business. Just like your finances are none of anyone else's. Your LL doesn't get to tell you how to live your life but he does get a say in how you treat HIS property. The one he spent his money buying.

If you don't like it, you get to give him a notice and choose to pay rent elsewhere.

MrsBucketxx Wed 23-Jan-13 07:49:53

I dont understand that it makes no sense to bodge anything it will only bite you back twice as hard anyway.

chicaguapa Wed 23-Jan-13 08:01:01

I feel for you and I think is reasonable to put a clause in the tenancy to air the house regularly to maintain it in the condition they've rented it in.

We are in a similar position. We rent our house out and when the last tenant moved out we discovered she'd closed all the window vents and had put cling film over the extractor fans in the bathroom and en-suite. hmm

The new tenant claims the house has damp and we have to get a survey done to find out. Hopefully as it's a new build house and the other tenant was only in for 2 years, she hasn't caused lots of damage.

I don't think it's unreasonable to require someone to look after the house if they're renting it. Yes, tenants have to be able to live in it comfortably, but a LL should be able to ensure that the house isn't damaged while they're doing it.

expatinscotland Wed 23-Jan-13 09:21:15

'They've owned or lived in newer houses almost exclusively, and the idea that they'd have to open windows regularly during the winter time had never occurred to them.'

GreenEggs it's a very English thing, IME, too. I've rented nearly all my life in some very cold climates and never heard of 'airing' a house because I've always lived in decently built newish homes that had been upgraded to have efficient heating systems. Just used extractor fans and ran the heat to a decent level and never had a problem. So many old, manky, horrid, crumbling hovel excuses for homes in this county because people accept that. I mean, opening up windows when it's below freezing out? Something's wrong with such horrible excuse for a pile! Tear it down and build something more energy efficient! There seems to be this idea, too, that it's a virtue to be freezing cold in your own home, too, something that astonishes people from cold climates as in Scandanavia.

Dehumidifyers - had never heard of those, either, until our first and only experience living, thankfully not for long, in a dank hovel.

They cost a bomb to run.

Any home that has to be 'aired' has something very, very wrong with it, IMO.

MrsBucketxx Wed 23-Jan-13 09:32:38

So lets fill the country with bland new build boxes with no sole or character.

I really hope I never have you as a tenant. Old houses need treating differently. Thats all.

ethelb Wed 23-Jan-13 09:38:33

@MrsBucketxx I think that though it sounds like you are doing lots to prevent mould, I also think that if the house is that hard to maintain and you are that upset when it is not maintained properly then you might need to reconsider if it is suitable for renting out.

expatinscotland Wed 23-Jan-13 09:41:45

No, let's instead leave crumbling holes up that require more of our rapidly-depleting sources of fuel for the sake of chacter and soul. Freezing to death is ever so lovely.

I will never rent an old house again and never rent from anything other than a professional landlord again, because IME they're all dumps full of damp and I'd rather do something else with my money than open windows in winter and basically throw money out of it.

HighJinx Wed 23-Jan-13 09:50:16

Old houses need treating differently.

I understand that to some people this may be obvious but not to all. If the house needs special treatment then you need to tell the tenant up front.

I would be extremely annoyed if nothing was said and I moved in, had a problem and was then told "you must open the windows at x time regardless of the external temperature and you must dry your laundry in the lean two out the back."

At least if you are up front about it the tenant can make a choice as to whether this property is for them or not.

HighJinx Wed 23-Jan-13 09:50:53

lean two ???? blush

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