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Calling tenants - what would you think about this situation

(15 Posts)
Lalalalandlord Mon 05-Jan-15 16:49:30

I have rented out a property for 6 years. 1 yr ago we had new tenants and also put in new double glazing just before they moved in. Those tenants have just moved out over Xmas and we noticed mould on inspection - it's possibly rising damp breaching the damp proof course and I've taken some advice and believe it's due to poor drainage leading to a breach of the damp proof course. There was also a separate leak in the property which was swiftly remedied and left water damage which means the lounge (2 walls) needs redecorating. New tenants obviously viewed the property with the water damage present and we promised to redecorate ASAP after tenants moved in. However they knew as they were moving in only a few days after the last tenants moved out that we might not get it done in time and it would be done ASAP. On moving in they've discovered another patch of mould behind furniture which we missed on inspection.
I'm ordering them a dehumifider and will give advice on airing the property as this problem has occurred since we got double glazing and humidity has risen inside possibly also combined with rising damp about which we are taking action this week to improve the soil drainage outside the property which we have been advised is the cause.
We will then need to redecorate but won't be able to until after the damp has dried out a bit - a couple of weeks is the advice we've had.
I feel bad they've moved into this problem and want to remedy ASAP but as stated it will take a couple of weeks to dry out and then redecorate after taking remedial action. I am going to offer a rent refund - what would be reasonable?

DrewOB Mon 05-Jan-15 16:52:51

The issue is most likely due to a reduction in ventilation. I would offer money towards having to heat up the flat with the windows open to get rid of the mould. Do you know what heating was before you got double glazing installed?

whataboutbob Mon 05-Jan-15 18:15:50

Reading with interest as I am having to manage my dad's rental property through power of attorney, he's too unwell to do it himself. There is mould on walls in 2 of the bedrooms and the students are understandably unhappy. There are letting agents involved and the place is ex council (they are the freeholders). Agents believe problem may be coming from external walls and so council would be responsible.
Beyond that, I know there is a problem with students drying clothes in their rooms, and not opening windows. I have bought them a dehumidifier and the council did come out to look a the property, i am awaiting their report.
Last year a water pipe burst and flooded the hall carpet, water had to be turned off , I paid £60 per day each till problem was sorted on the basis that a cheap B&B would cost that. They stayed in the property throughout.

Lalalalandlord Mon 05-Jan-15 18:20:59

DrewOB, I don't know what the heating bills were before double glazing, that would be over a year ago now. The last tenants I could find out what they paid for hearing with the double glazing and if the new tenants end up paying more offer to pay the difference? I feel I should offer something for the inconvenience and obviously we rented out a property that is damp and has mould when it should not be..... Maybe a 20 per cent reduction for this first month to include the additional heating costs if I ask them to keep heating on with windows open for a week while they are out at work? That would be 150 for this month). They seem like lovely tenants and I want to keep them happy and am v happy we had no void with no tenants but obvs if we had we would have sorted the mould issue!

Lalalalandlord Mon 05-Jan-15 18:22:28

What about bob your issue sounds similar to mine, combination of poor ventilation and an external damp problem that's got worse with the poor ventilation...... It's a small house and the last tenants had four people living there which is more than we've ever had before.... As well as having the new double glazing.

Lalalalandlord Mon 05-Jan-15 18:23:27

I'm not sure if paying 60 a quid a day until problem sorted would be reasonable as the property is liveable, it's a cosmetic problem really as the underlying damp is getting sorted

shabbycaddy Mon 05-Jan-15 19:06:52

Depending on age of property, might not have a cavity wall, most homes pre 1910 I think won't, this with the factor of new windows being introduced stoping air flow causes the moist damp air in the house to condensate on the external walls which are cold bridging. If your house is this kind of age make sure tenants leave trickle vents open on windows and do not dry cloths on radiators. To help if there are any old blocked up fire places without an air vent in, it's worth putting one in to allow additional ventilation, also make sure bathroom and kitchen extractors all work correctly and are clean. I work in the new build industry and it's still common to get mould in some houses, when you investigate it's mainly due to people drying cloths inside and not switching extractors on in kitchens and bathrooms(social housing can cause biggest problems as people try to save electricity turning fans off). People also don't realise in new homes how airtight they now are compared to homes of yesteryear and have to actually think about airflow in their homes

DrewOB Mon 05-Jan-15 19:07:06

But is mould really cosmetic? In fragile people if can set off respiratory diseases:s

whataboutbob Mon 05-Jan-15 19:42:59

Yes lala I felt strong armed by the agents who very much were advocating for a rent rebate. But that's because you could have argued the place wasn't habitable until the problem was rectified. I wouldn't do that for mould. Interesting post shabbycaddy. The building is post war but maybe it doesn't have a cavity wall. I wonder what the council is going to do about it, if anything. I really must insist to the students about the vents. But at the end of the day if they don't want to open them, I'm not around to see what they are doing.

Lazymummy2014 Mon 05-Jan-15 19:50:10

You sound like a great landlord OP. I think what you're offering is very fair; as a renter I'd be totally happy with that. Mould and damp isn't a cosmetic problem, it's really unpleasant and a health risk.

I'd also say keep communicating with your tenants re. what you're doing next and when, ie when the decorating will be done, if you're getting the damp course checked. It's horrible to live with a problem and not know if/when it'll be sorted, and as a tenant you are often concerned about appearing problematic if you chase for updates.

Sizzlesthedog Mon 05-Jan-15 19:54:13

If the house isn't well ventilated. Windows opened daily etc. condensation mould will build up on the external walls. Especially behind large furniture sitting on the external walls.

The humid air will condense on the cold wall and then cause mould over time. The more humidity the quicker this will happen.

Boiling pans on the hob, showers, breathing all cause condensation. The windows need to be open for some of everyday to help.

Drying laundry indoors is like chucking water at the walls to quote pigletjohn.

There is nothing landlords can do to ensure tenants are ventilating the property.

Its a common problem with rental properties.

Lalalalandlord Mon 05-Jan-15 20:24:14

Thanks all. My last tenants came from a hot country and I bet condensation in this climate was never a problem for then before. The dehumifier is being delivered on Wednesday. I know mould causes health issues but I hope not in a couple of weeks and really hope it will be sorted by then..... So I guess I meant hopefully it's still considered cosmetic or at least the property is liveable for the short term..... Obviously would be a health hazard if we didn't get it sorted. Will definitely keep the tenants updated as to what we are doing.

Lalalalandlord Mon 05-Jan-15 20:26:05

Meant to say, shabby thanks that's v informative. The property is 1970s I think but we've only had the problem since the double glazing was installed so will reiterate the need for ventilation

shabbycaddy Mon 05-Jan-15 22:02:07

No problem, yeah best advice is to get tenants to keep one trickle vent open per room, that's the advice we give to new home owners. We are now getting to point on certain new builds that they are so air tight that we have to put mechanical ventilator extractor into the homes to take the warm moist air from the kitchens and bathrooms which removes the moisture and then re sends the heat to other rooms in the house. Gone of the days of the air brick/vent in a room/open fire places/ suspended draughty floors and draughty wooden windows

Phoenixfrights Mon 05-Jan-15 22:21:15

I'm no longer a tenant but was once, and our house had damp issues. I think what you're suggesting sounds very reasonable. If you'd been our landlord I'd have hugged you for being a responsible person who was sorting it out hard stare at the real ex-landlord who cared not a fig for our child's respiratory issues

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