Landlord problems...damp house(17 Posts)
DD2 is in a rented shared house for her 2nd year at uni.
The house was freshly painted, tho in need of some work, when they moved in at the end of AUgust.(ie no lino on the bathroom floor and a few other issues which the LL reluctantly sorted)
Now the weather has turned of course. They have the heating on a couple of hours in the morning and then again in the evening when they are all home.. just as most working people do!
The house has HORRIBLE damp. DD2's room has awet ceiling every morning and her shoes and scarfs have gone mouldy. Her house mate in the enxt room pulled his wardobe (there when he moved in) away from the wall and found mould everywhere. The living room paper is peeling away from the ceiling.
It's an old dormer bungalow property probably 1950s looking at it.
They have done the sensible thing..contacted the LL..who said it's nothing to do with him, 'they mustn't be airing it properly' !! They told him they had the heating on as above and he just shrugged. They are pretty sure he knew it was damp, hence the quick facelift of paint in the summer.
The contacted the letting agency who told them it's theLL's responsibility.
They arw paying good money for a house which is very damp indeed.. and it's not winter properly yet.
What can they do?
Get in touch with the student support services at the uni, they usually have a wealth of experience dealing with such issues.
Different universities have their experts in different places so it could be the main support services or in the student's union, but they should be able to help.
Ours has a number of standard threatening letters quoting the relevant laws etc, and they can and will support students in legal action if necessary.
Damp houses are horrible! I too lived in one as a student and we got out as soon as we could. Like your DD the house looked fine when we moved in but a couple of months down the line it had black mould showing everywhere.
It's really bad for your health to live somewhere like that. What break clause do they have in their contract? Can find somewhere else to move to? (Yes I know this is far easier said than done and expensive but living there all winter will be miserable)
In the short term it is the landlords responsibility he's just trying to fob them off because they are students. I suggest daily calls to both LL and agent reporting the issues until something gets done about them
We have the exact same problem. Damp, and fobbed off by landlord that we somehow caused the problem. This has gone one a few months and we have even had some health issues that may or may not be caused by the damp, as well as some mouldy shoes and clothes.
The landlord is finally listening because we have located the root cause of the problem.
I would advise your DD to find out if any damp experts would give a free quote and estimate of costs involved in rectifying the problem. Then show the landlord.
Best of luck!
Are they airing the house as well as putting the heating on? If things are getting ruined he really needs to stump up for a dehumidifier. How are they drying washing?
My parents have a similar issue in the house that they own. They've had a builder investigate and the problem is that there is no cavity in the external walls - quite common in post-war constructions due to a lack of materials. There is nothing that can be done about it short of knocking it down and rebuilding it.
The first thing she can do is look for air bricks and make sure they are not blocked by furniture, etc. In my parents' house, the previous owner had blocked some, which made the problem worse.
My parents have a dehumidifier, which takes a HUGE amount of water out of the air, but they are not cheap nor cheap to run.
Are they airing it properly? I have a flat with tenants and they complained it was damp. I politely showed them the extensive damp proof course I'd spent a fortune putting in! A sensible airing and perhaps more heating might cure it?
DD had problems with damp. They got nowhere with the LL and the University weren't much help (tbf they weren't involved in the letting but they provided the list with LL's name on, so had a bit of a moral responsibility) so in the end they contacted the Council. The lovely man there told them procedure and chased the LL for them. The LL eventually lost the HMO licence and therefore couldn't let the property the following year.
Have a look at the direct.gov website.
Damp is caused by inefficient ventilation and ineffective heating. The problem of mould is caused because they are producing too much water vapour when the bungalow is cold, hence condensation and mould on the cold surfaces. This is usually worse overnight. Can they keep the bungalow heated all the time? (Not cheap I know). Do they go to the laundrette to dry clothes? Do they open any windows, eg at night and when cooking? Do they have really thick curtains to keep the heat in and the cold out? Contact the environmental health officers at the Local Council to see what they recommend. Check any advice on the web for improving the situation. Speak to the letting agent. It makes my blood boil when students are taken advantage of in this way. The landlord should be blacklisted by the Uni Accommodations Office so go and see them.
We got a condenser dryer and were amazed at the amount of water that comes out of each wash it really is alot. They will need to all avoid drying inside .
Call the Environmental Health dept. They will come out and look at the problem.
They need to have it assessed by the council's environmental health department. They can require he landlord to act on it, and fine them for not.
I was in a situation when I was a student, and I ended up withholding my final three months rent. They should also definitely talk to the student union about their options.
Are the windows open for 30 mins a day, the bathroom fan used with every shower, and no washing dried inside. Then they might have something but 90% of students I know do none of these - they whack the heat up and think it will stop.
To be honest it sounds like a typical student place to me!! If I owned a house that I wanted to let.... If it was in good nick I would rent to couples/families but if in bad condition rent to students!! That's generally how it goes. Students also don't open windows, dry clothes inside, let steam from the kitchen/bathroom stay in the house etc etc. (I was a student) I think its all part of the 'experience'
I think you sould re-post this in the Property section -- there are a lot of experienced landlords there. It seems to me their status as tenants is more significant than that they are students.
But having said that, I don't think a couple of hours a day heating on is going to keep a badly insulated house undamp. And there may not be much a LL can do.
And students tend to be rather careless -- or just ignorant about airing a house, not drying washing inside, and so on -- because they have no experience & it's the first time they're living independently.
In her last flat DD and her flatmates were handed fact sheets with the rental agreement on how to minimise condensation etc. it's a fine judgement whether the landlord was covering themselves or genuinely addressing a problem with tenants. That flat was an ex Council property in an estate block so didn't get freezing cold but still the walls ran with condensation even with the kitchen window open etc. To be fair to the LL the council tenants had the same issue, as did I in all my low rent pre flat owning days. If you have the knowledge, resources and motivation to keep your house warm and ventilated you may not be aware of the conditions people on low incomes often endure. Frankly I leave it to DD and her flatmates to choose properties and manage their relationship with their Ll, all part of growing up. My niece saw a rat, involved the university accommodation people and was in a new flat the next day.
In my 7th floor student flat you could hold a feather by the windows and it would blow horizontally across to the other side of the room, we had icicles on the inside of our windows and one cold morning we put boiling water in the sink to wash and it split in two.......... It is something I remember when I need to remind myself how lucky I am.
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