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Can our landlady do this?

(40 Posts)
itssquidstella Fri 16-Dec-16 07:44:16

We moved into private rented accommodation in October. We rented through an agency but the landlady manages the property and we deal with her for issues such as repairs etc.

Since we moved in we've had problems with condensation. Her response to us over this hasn't been very helpful (blaming us for it and sending us patronising articles about how water vapour is formed) but she did eventually buy a dehumidifier, at our request. This, along with our being more careful about opening windows and keeping doors closed, has made a big difference to the issue, as we knew it would.

We've been drying our washing in the bathroom to limit condensation in other parts of the flat. The extractor fan here is broken, and although we've asked since we moved in for her to send someone to fix it, she hasn't yet done so.

We texted her yesterday to ask again if she could send someone to fix the fan and in her reply she requested (as she has mentioned before) that we don't dry any clothes in the flat.

The flat has a washing machine. There is a communal garden, but it's down two flights of stairs, round the back of the house, through a locked gate and down the end of another, private garden. We don't even know if it has a washing line, and of course it's not exactly the best weather to try to dry washing outside, especially in a shared space.

We don't think it's reasonable to expect us not to dry clothes in the flat, especially as there is no reasonable alternative. Where do we stand on this legally? Will dig tenancy agreement out today but hoped someone with experience could advise.

Thanks in advance.

Lelliot Fri 16-Dec-16 07:50:26

CAB advice here

I don't think the ll can tell you not to dry clothes inside, especially if you are drying in the bathroom with the windows open. If there are no windows then she should be fixing the fan.

Hellmouth Fri 16-Dec-16 07:53:21

The extractor fan not working will cause issues when you're having a shower, surely? Unless she expects you to also shower with the window open! I would also mention that.

itssquidstella Fri 16-Dec-16 08:24:49

There are windows in the bathroom which we do open after showering and when drying washing, but obviously it would be better to have a working fan too!

specialsubject Fri 16-Dec-16 14:29:54

Landlady should fix extractor fan and suggest you buy a dryer. The water from the clothes will make the flat damp.

Nothing patronising about facts, and what she sent you is what is recommended for tenants who hang washing indoors. But she needs to fix the fan.

itssquidstella Fri 16-Dec-16 14:34:49

Patronising because my boyfriend has a degree in Geography and we know exactly how water vapour is formed. She should buy the dyer if that's her recommendation. We're doing everything abused by CAB.

NickyEds Fri 16-Dec-16 14:49:08

Our landlady asked that we buy a dryer and don't dry washing on radiators/indoors. I was fine with it so had it written into the tenancy agreement. Your ll should fix the extractor. Is there room for a dryer?

Glitterous Fri 16-Dec-16 14:57:56

These situations really piss me off. If the landlord is going to rent her property to humans in the UK she should provide a tumble drier rather than expect her tenants not to dry clothes inside during the winter. Do you really think she's trekking down to the laundrette twice a week or drying her clothes outside?? It's completely ridiculous.

I'm a conscientious tenant, but there is absolutely no way my clothes will dry outside in my North facing garden in the winter so we dry them inside with the dehumidifier on. Windows are opened every morning and during showers.

Sorry, I'm just having a rant!

Ps- even if your landlord deals with repairs it may state in your lease to report issues to the letting agent so I would email/report the broken extractor fan to them in case the landlord tries to blame you in the future for the inevitable bathroom mould.

EssentialHummus Fri 16-Dec-16 14:59:46

Check your tenancy. She needs to fix the extractor, but you need to apply your collective wisdom to understand that that alone won't be enough if you're drying clothes frequently indoors.

Broadly, condensation is a tenant problem (because it's caused by tenant behaviour). But, yes, she needs to fix the extractor. Even if you weren't drying clothes you'd need to shower in there.

Pemba Fri 16-Dec-16 16:01:23

Drying clothes indoors is perfectly normal behaviour in the UK. I've been doing it for years in both rented properties and our own properties, with no problems. Hanging out washing on radiators or clothes horses (airers) every couple of days, as long as central heating is used in cold weather, should not cause problems in a correctly built or converted property. It's part of everyday life and a normal thing you should expect to be able to do.

It's only in the parallel universe of some landlords that apparently this is not the case and all condensation is caused by tenant behaviour. Quite conveniently this then apparently absolves landlords from paying for maintenance on their properties, like having damp treated, repairing extractor fans, etc.

itssquidstella Fri 16-Dec-16 18:08:19

We've checked the tenancy agreement and there's no specific clause forbidding drying clothes inside.

There's no space for a dryer but I suppose she could replace the washing machine with a washer/dryer - though that would increase our energy bills, which isn't ideal.

We've asked her what she expects us to do given the lack of alternatives for drying clothes and are waiting for a response! Getting the extractor fixed would be a great first step, though...

ThisThingCalledLife Fri 16-Dec-16 23:22:59

She can't stop you from drying clothes indoors, but legally you are liable for any damp damage caused to the property due to that.

She needs to clearly state it in her tenancy agreement that the flat needs a dryer...and then either provide one or make it clear it's not included.

i've been known to hang my clothes on curtain poles via clothes-hanger to dry fgrin

Another trick is to put clothes on an extra fast spin cycle before hanging them out to dry - definitely less condensation.

specialsubject Sat 17-Dec-16 17:09:02

well, in the house that I live in and own, we don't dry clothes on radiators because that makes it very damp. Obviously. Whether the house is owned or rented makes no difference to the laws of physics.

I am in a position to do my washing only on days when it can dry in the garden, but if I wasn't I would have a tumble dryer. Landlady should either mandate or provide, as otherwise the property is going to get damaged.

extractor fan still needs fixing.

BishopBrennansArse Sat 17-Dec-16 17:19:39

Why does the landlady have to provide the dryer? Can't you buy your own?

caroldecker Sat 17-Dec-16 17:46:52

She can't ban you but she can retain the deposit for damage caused by you drying washing indoors.

BishopBrennansArse Sat 17-Dec-16 17:49:25

She should defo fix the extractor, though. Holding you liable for condensation when you came extract bathing steam is very off.

Pemba Sat 17-Dec-16 17:51:37

Not obvious actually special. The machine gives it a good spin and the clothes are not absolutely dripping wet when they go on the radiators, so they soon dry. And it's never given rise to any damp problems for me over the last 25 years. My parents do the same, and also most people I know.

I wonder if it's the age of the property that makes the difference? None of the houses I mention were built before the 70s.

notgettingyounger Sat 17-Dec-16 18:06:11

I agree completely with special. There is no way I would dry clothes on radiators in my own (owned) home and I expect tenants not to either. In emergencies, I take my washing down the road to use the tumble drier at the launderette. Tenants can do the same. It will be obvious to them when they take on the property whether or not it has a tumble drier and whether or not they need one in their personal circumstances.

Nobody forces you to take on an unsuitable flat (eg one without a tumble drier if that is what you need). As a LL, I would also be quite short with a tenant causing damp in my flat.

The extractor fan in the bathroom is different - if an appliance is provided then it should be in working order.

Pemba Sat 17-Dec-16 18:27:07

Well you both obviously live in Georgian listed buildings, or something! Humans living in houses will cause some release of moisture into the air that's inevitable. It's part of life, from simply breathing, bathing and showering, cooking, and yes, drying clothes.

I have rented my current place for 5 years (think it was built about 1990). In the winter and when it's too wet to use the garden I frequently hang clothes on radiators. There have been no problems, and nothing has ever been picked up on inspection.

Drying clothes on radiators every couple of days is NORMAL behaviour, it really is. Personally I wouldn't choose to rent anywhere where you couldn't live a normal life.

Glitterous Sat 17-Dec-16 18:28:06

But not everyone has a laundrette down the road. I don't. Honestly, I couldn't tell you where one is near me.

alltouchedout Sat 17-Dec-16 18:33:53

If I have to dry clothes on the radiators I spin them an extra time after washing and honestly, they dry quickly and without causing problems. I have a heated airer too- that doesn't cause any issues either. Would your ll also be against one of those?

EssentialHummus Sat 17-Dec-16 19:09:32

There is no way I would dry clothes on radiators in my own (owned) home and I expect tenants not to either.

Same here.

SmellyChristmasCandles Sat 17-Dec-16 19:14:38

DC lived in a flat, less than ten years old, which had terrible problems with damp. Similarly, they were advised not to dry any washing in the flat - not sure what they were supposed to do as there was nowhere else. Communal garden was for sitting in, no washing lines allowed, no dryer in the flat and no drying room in the block. The damp was dreadful and when a surveyor looked at it, his report stated that the problem was actually with the poor standard of construction of the flat. He advised remedial work to rectify it, but LL decided it was too costly and decided to sell up. DC was happy to get out to be honest, and thanks to the surveyors report, could prove the damp was inevitable due to the building fault and didn't lose their deposit. Without that, they would have been held liable for the damage and would have had to pay any associated costs.
Although your contract does not forbid drying clothes, I would be surprised if it doesn't require you not to do anything that might cause damp and mildew. I also can't imagine that you can force your LL to supply a dryer.

nancy75 Sat 17-Dec-16 19:18:54

Op until the extractor is fixed dry clothes in the bathroom, put the dehumidifier in the bathroom with the washing and close the bathroom door, your washing will dry faster and the room won't get damp

ivykaty44 Sat 17-Dec-16 19:20:32

Drying clothing indoors is not good, regardless of how many people do it. Get a tumble dryer as it's much better for your health.

Get the landlady to fix broken fan

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