is this unreasonable to ask a tenant to do this.(93 Posts)
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.
Can I suggest googling "condensation council" - a lot of hits from all over the country. I assume this applies to all council housing not just the odd Victorian flats/houses. Start wiping those windows rather than waiting for the council to send a cleaner!
You can usually tell from the water marks.
In the flat just vacated, it's the water marks on the windows, on the curtain linings, on external walls & under the skylights.
And the mould where the ceiling meets an external wall, & the mould that starts to grow on the bottom of the window frame.
I live in a modern house now, but have lived in Georgian, Edwardian & Victorian. In any type, when I boil a pan or pans, even with the extractor on, the double glazed windows start to steam up. Same when I have a shower.
So I open a window. Just for a few minutes, until it has cleared.
You don't have to tumble dry all clothes. You don't even have to tumble dry any.
It is simply a question of knowing enough condensation to know where water comes from & where it goes.
Boil a pan without a lid, the water evaporates. Into the air. It will then settle on the coldest surface it finds.
Really really simple things help.
Run cold water in the bath first, before hot. Even just a little, & the room won't get so steamy.
If you want a steamy bathroom, fine, just open the window afterwards.
Put lids on pans when cooking. It will cook faster, & you won't release moisture into the air.
Don't like sleeping with the window slightly open, fine, open it for 5 minutes in the morning
helps to get rid of that dead badger sleep smell too, or if you think it's too cold & like a fusty room, wipe the condensation off the window & put the wet cloth outside.
Rather than dry clothes on a radiator, releasing water into the air quickly, put them on an airer in a cooler room, & open the window a crack & shut the door. The water from the drying clothes will go outside, rather than settle behind your wardrobe.
Don't tape over air vents,they are there for a reason & likewise keep trickle vents open.
Low level constant heating is both more effective & cheaper than having the heating on full in short bursts, and stops the hot/cold cycle which condensation loves.
And if you find any mould, use an anti mould spray on it rather than bleach. Anti mould spray kills it, bleach just masks it.
The clause the OP suggests is standard. Very standard. Check any well written AST & it will be there along with don't invite vermin in & don't pour fat down drains.
How can you be sure that the issue was caused by the tenant?
I know that you have had experts in who say that it was caused by the property not being aired but how do you know she didn't open the windows?
I don't live in the`UK, we have to air our house. All our neighbours do it to. We also need to keep it warm to prevent damp, airing your house briefly every day doesn't make it cold. Unaired houses always smell a bit fusty too.
A 120 yr house that has been maintained and hasn't got problems somewhere in the fabric is not the kind of property that should special treatment as a "old house" - it's a pretty standard housing type in this country and
" old " houses of the type that requires special consideration are those of specialist construction or pre Victorian which shouldn't be rented out without consideration to the particular issues that these properties bring.
If you have the correct background and extract ventilation installed and working heating and no problems with the fabric you should not need to open windows to "air a house" - opening windows should only be necessary for extreme events to supplement correctly installed ventilation (in this house that usually follows the boys having a curry). A proper damp specialist would be able to tell you this and recommend courses of action to prevent damp not just an expensive damp proof treatment (which if incorrectly installed may nit only not work but make the problem worse) This year due to the high moisture content of the air and ground saturation (it's pissed it down with rain all year) more damp problems have come to light than usual. However if it is a wide spread problem rather than isolated small patches a solution that looks at the building fabrics performance must be considered. A 'professional' that tells you to open the windows more isn't giving you very good advice on how to solve the problem just how to reduce its consequences. I speak as both a building professional and the owner of an 'old' house.
In the last house we rented we watched the mould climbing up the walls. Did we open the windows regularly? Yes. Did we inform the landlord? Of course we did. Did the landlord want to know? Absolutely not. Did they then blame us when we moved out? Naturally. And they told us we should have told them sooner. We had. On numerous occasions. Did we get our deposit back? No chance.
OP, you do sound like you're trying to maintain your house. But many landlords just don't want to know about problems, won't come out to sort out general maintenance during the tenancy, and then blame the tenants for not telling them about problems.
The minute I saw a contract with codicils like I must wipe down windows, can't dry clothes indoors (I don't anyway, we own a dryer), have to air it and that we may be liable for damp, I'd be off like a shot! That's just a red flag to a tenant that a) there's something wrong with the house b) the landlord will make it the tenant's fault.
But again, as a tenant, I don't rent old houses/homes - they are always a problem, IME, haven't been in a one that doesn't have damp and yy, with the weather getting wetter, I neither want it nor want the blame pinned on me for it.
I think you should include a clause that the tenant advises you immediately if there is condensation, or damp, so that you can maintain your property.
I don't think it's very acceptable to insist the tenant lives his life with the heat on and windows open, or that she has to use a tumble dryer or can't dry clothes inside.
Wiping down windows? Maybe offer to have a monthly cleaner come in for free, if you want to interfere at that level.
It sounds like you need to look after your property more carefully yourself - installing humidifiers and extractor fans are the way to go, not interfering with a tenants right to have peaceful enjoyment of their home.
As a tenant I think you should include the clause. However a house should be able to cope with so e drying of clothes on airers, not all clothes can be can be dried, it wears clothes out faster and are expensive to run.
My rented house has lots of sockets and will have a new bathroom very soon, and the kitchen is new too.
Its not a hovel
Chops I have had two independent people come in and tell me the same thing,
At great cost to myself.
Lean too like this but brick not wood
On the point that 'it's never happened before' - we've just had one of the wettest years ever. I know friends who have had damp problems this year who have never had any issues before.
I don't, either, High, but I prefer plenty of sockets, modern bathrooms and being warm and dry.
I don't think you are being unreasonable asking a tenant to air the place, and I would explain about the previous problems.
I think though, you are being unreasonable assuming the tenant has caused the damp. How do you know it was caused by not opening windows? We have airbricks, extractor in the bathroom, open windows daily but still have damp. It was thought to be dodgy guttering, but I don't believe it is that. It seems to be coming through worse from where our house is joined to the neighbours and I have no idea why. I would deeply resent it if my LL told me it was my fault!
I just don't get this idea that new homes are bland and old properties have character.
Maybe I have no soul
@expat @MrsBucketxx tbf I like houses with character but as a tenant I tend to not go for them as rental properties due to the reasons outlined above.
A 'bland new build box' is actually quite a good place to be as a tenent as it means fewer problems that the landlaord may chose to ingore.
(Not that you are a crap landlord but the ignorence of some landlords about the rest of the industry does shock me a little on MN sometimes)
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.
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.
@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.
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.
'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.
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.
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.
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