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Damp in rental property

(40 Posts)
sparklyraindeers Mon 14-Nov-16 20:44:11

I'm a landlord, the property is a inherited property from my grandparents.

My tenant has complained of mould around the window frame in the lounge.

The house was recently done up and we noticed the mould situation and put it down to no ventilation as we used to lock up and the house remained empty for quite a few months.

We used a heavy duty mould killed and mould paint but are now complaining saying it has become a issue. They have admitted they do not open the windows at all.

What would be a good plan of action? I'm wondering wether getting a mould repellent spray and a dehumidifier would be a good idea?

I must admit I am clueless when it comes to mould as I've never lived in a older house before.

Any tips or advice?

specialsubject Mon 14-Nov-16 22:02:28

Waste of time if they never open windows. Check no gutter or building issues. Try to educate them about laws of physics.

There are guides online to try to get the concept across.

birdladyfromhomealone Mon 14-Nov-16 22:50:07

you have a tenant problem not a house problem.
educate then to put the heating on, ventilate and dry clothes outside.
however i guess it will be an uphill battle because tenants always blame the house not their lifestyle.
if you have a hot shower and the bathroom is full of steam, without opening the window the steam will become water and cause mould. same with cooking, kitchen full of steam, no window open causes mould,
drying wet clothes on a dryer or worse on a radiator- where is the water going to go? sleeping with a closed bedroom window, where is the breath going to go?
You have to explain this to your tenants in simple terms but they will still blame the house!!!
Its the bane of the LL sad

Bluebolt Tue 15-Nov-16 21:11:11

We had to have a survey done, as tenant refused to accept any responsibility and in contact with council about damp. Wanted rent reduction to compensate de humidifier running costs but even if agreed probably would not of plugged it in.

sparklyraindeers Tue 15-Nov-16 21:52:20

I've been and checked it out today and it's in just one room, same room we had problems before. Funny thing is it's a bedroom and only used at night.

They are drying the washing inside and have not been using the bathroom extractor.

When my grandparents lived there they didn't have this issue as the windows were always open just a cm or two.

They come from overseas and there climate is a lot warmer than ours and I just don't think they understand that it's inside the house is a problem not outside, kept on about a outside leak.

I've tried to smooth things over as they wanted to end the tenancy agreement so I have said I will get a dehumidifier and mould replant and will sort the window frames to keep the peace. I'm hoping if I can get rid of it again and they keep up there end of the bargain it may stop.

Gutters were cleared very recently so I'm assuming it's not that.

birdladyfromhomealone Tue 15-Nov-16 23:29:46

The problem will not disappear unless they heat the property, and ventilate and desist from drying clothes inside.
Your will be wasting YOUR money by doing the things you have said.
I would let them go and with your next tenants put into the contract:-
heat and ventilate the property adequately.
Do not dry clothes inside.
Use the extractors in kitchen and bathroom.
You do not want tenants who do not understand they are causing the problem. There are more tenant looking than houses available. let them go and ruin someone elses property.

specialsubject Wed 16-Nov-16 08:03:23

Let them end the agreement. Doesn't matter where they come from, if they are too stupid or arrogant to understand what is going on, and the so!ple remedies, they will cause lots of expensive damage.

All they need to do is open windows 10 mins a day, dry outside or in a dryer - it is hardly onerous.

PinkSwimGoggles Wed 16-Nov-16 08:07:27

and between tennants get the extractor fans connected to the light switch.

LIZS Wed 16-Nov-16 08:13:40

It might affect that specific room because of the direction it faces and whether it gets much sunlight especially in winter months. They need to open the window each morning even for a short time.

princessconsuelabannahammock Wed 16-Nov-16 08:20:56

I agree with the other posters let the tenants move on. Connect the bathroom light switch to the extractor fan - our electrician wasn't keen but did it as he admitted it would never be used otherwise.

Is it worth fitting a properly center Tumbke Dryer? You will have to fix it should it break but might help against the drying washing in doors. Make sure you have a washing line outside - admittedly not much use this time of year.

Repaint window, do they have trickle vents? Can they be retro fitted?

Then make sure your contract states Info about ventilation, drying washing etc

We had a similar issue with one of our houses and did all of the above and no damp. Good luck

princessconsuelabannahammock Wed 16-Nov-16 08:24:50

Argh excuse my phone it hates me and is trying to make me sound like a village idiot with all the typos. You get the jist hopefully

birdladyfromhomealone Wed 16-Nov-16 09:30:55

One of our tenants disconnected the bathroom extractor from the light switch themselves - they didn't like the noise.
The bathroom tiles and grouting were black with mould- they were given notice!!

OverScentedFanjo Wed 16-Nov-16 09:35:35

This is such an annoying issue with tenants. I have a property that as the same issue. They claimed not to be drying washing indoors, but the brand new rads had gone rusty in a year?!

If tenants don't open the windows they will get condensation mould. It's not damp.

You can repeat it til you are blue in the face, they probably will still blame the property.

Needmoresleep Wed 16-Nov-16 10:19:22

Google "tenant condensation guidance" and all sorts of briefing notes will appear. Pick the best, print it off and give it to new tenants.

Bathrooms are the big problem. And you will get cultural differences. One set of east Asian tenants must have spent hours in the shower each day. Every six months or so, when black marks started to appear, I would go up and wash the bathroom ceiling with the appropriate solution. And every so often tiles would have to be re-glued to the wall. When they left the builder installed two strong extractor fans and insisted I replace the bath with shower with a large dedicated walk-in shower to reduce the amount of water that was sitting on the floor (which caused the boarding under the floor tiles to rise.) I have had the flat for years and this was the first time I had had problems.

I have always had problems with a Victorian terrace house. Four sharers, plus add a couple of boyfriends/girlfriends and that is a lot using a small bathroom. First we installed a second loo/shower under the stairs, but also provide clear instructions. The window must always be left slightly open, the door needs to be kept open when the bathroom is not in use and any water on the floor must be mopped up. We provide a couple of absorbent bath mats as well. The same house had condensation problems in the back, smaller bedroom which was the coldest room in the house, in part because I suspect it was never ventilated. (It was a real boy cave - bless him! - complete with smell, curtains always drawn, large gaming computer and clothes on the floor.) Regardless we lined the walls so they are better insulated and this seems to have sorted it.

I raise my eyebrows at some of those landlord/tenant problems on TV. One was about damp, but the tenant was originally from a tropical country, had quite a lot of children and there was washing everywhere. The mould was quite impressive and landlord was cast as the villain, but I am not so sure. I suspect part of it is that people now expect their homes to be warmer than they used to, and double glazing, energy efficiency regulations for new homes etc, has reduced drafts.

Needmoresleep Wed 16-Nov-16 10:22:34

Princess, current building regs require extractor fans to have an isolator switch. My experience is that tenants will always turn this off, especially in ensuites.

princessconsuelabannahammock Wed 16-Nov-16 10:36:25

Need - we installed that yrs ago and that house is now sold. I would never remember to put it in in my own house but I do open the window after a shower and squigge the walls and door to remove water and prevent mould. The other option is one that automatically comes on when the moisture content in the air rises - they are over £100 though.

Our old house had no window (yuck) and a really really noisy extractor fan, in the night I used to wee in the dark so it didn't turn on.

Its difficult as tenants have the right to live their lives as they see fit and mould is awful and a health risk but the landlord has a right to not having their asset trashed by tenants not treating it properly.

Needmoresleep Wed 16-Nov-16 10:43:01

Princess, exactly. However bitter experience. A couple of years back I did a major refurbishment on one flat, including putting in an extractor fan that responds to moisture. Westminster Council building control required me to retro fit an isolator switch.

specialsubject Wed 16-Nov-16 18:34:35

yes, tenants can live life as they see fit - but that doesn't change the laws of physics.

so if they don't heat and ventilate, the place will skank up. And it won't be the landlord's fault.

SarfEast1cated Wed 16-Nov-16 18:41:24

I live in a Victorian house and this happens all the time - brickwork on bay windows are only single courses so the walls are colder. Just give them some bleach spray to wipe the walls down under the windows - that's what we use.

sparklyraindeers Wed 16-Nov-16 18:50:02

Really helpful posts, thanks.

I hadn't even considered a tumble dryer but that is actually a fabulous idea so I will ask if that would help them out, it won't fit in the kitchen as its quite small but it has a open plan kitchen / diner that leads onto a back porch that could possibly work but I'm not sure if there is electric out there. Will look into that as a possibility.

No trickle vents on Windows unfortunately.

I will look into the guides online and send that across.

I think a bit of non patronizing guidance is in order due to them not being from the uk.

I was guilty of all these crimes in my previous house I will admit, I was young and clueless but it was my own home not rented.

whataboutbob Thu 17-Nov-16 16:47:02

I have had major damp issues in a student property i manage for my dad (he's not well) so I installed a vented tumbled dryer- it was an Indesit, now they have issued fire warnings on them! Best laid plans. Over the years in that property I have also had to address leaking radiator pipes (into the concrete under the floors) and a leaking shower tray. I'm hoping all of these measures will have improved the situation but I am actually bracing myself for this year's call form the agents about the tenants threatening to withold rent because of damp....

specialsubject Thu 17-Nov-16 21:46:46

Tenants are not allowed to with hold rent. What they can do is get environmental health involved.

whataboutbob Fri 18-Nov-16 07:57:45

Thank you special subject. Previously tenants have made that threat. Good to know it's not legal. If E.H. do get involved maybe they will have some useful suggestions.

Giselaw Fri 18-Nov-16 08:02:56

Look at your tenancy contract and if it doesn't have a clause about tenant being responsible for condensation / mould, find a more comprehensive contract for your next tenancy. Most contracts I've signed over years as tenant have that clause.

nuggles Tue 22-Nov-16 11:12:48

Hi sparkly how did you get on in the end with your tenants?

I am having the same problem with my tenants, who are refusing to put the heater on more than a few hours a day to keep their bills down. Argh!

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