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View Full Version : Can I make landlord clean-out black mould on walls?



firefly
17-01-2009, 14:02 PM
Hi, I am about to be evicted from my current property and thought I found a lovely bungalow with no deposit to pay etc so I accepted and gave the LL the first months rent cheque (which has cleared).

On further inspection of the property there is 2 quite large areas of black mold. One in the bedroom along the bottom of one of the walls which looks as though its been scraped off and a large patch over the shower which looks a little fuzzy (so I dont think they have touched this at all). There are a few little areas in the lounge but it looks quite old.

Also the guy that lived there has left cuboards, drawers, the garage and shed filled with junk that has to be moved! The garage is unusable as there is a 3 piece suite in there (not usable!) and basically left all his kids toys, nail varnish, clothes, brushes and toliet brushes!! eww

There is ALOT of cleaning to be done before I can consider moving in and the whole place desperately needs painting. The main bedroom door wont close as it wasnt hung properly .... !

Im just so upset, I have read that black mold is toxic potentially lethal and I dont think I should have to clear his house out for him!! (He was meant to have done this yesterday when I got the keys).

The LL is not property owner but a friend of his and I am a single mum with a young daughter so although I dont want to make trouble so soon I feel I have been taken for a ride and dont want to put myself or my daughter in danger due to the mold.

I felt we were very lucky as I have to leave my current place and didnt have anywhere to go but never realised the extent to which this new place needed care.

Please please can someone advise me on the black mold and if I should insist on him clearing out garage etc as they left all their cr*p lying around everywhere!

The tenancy starts from Monday.

Thanks in advance, sorry its so long just wanted you to see the whole picture!

mind the gap
17-01-2009, 14:18 PM
[QUOTE=firefly;112186]On further inspection of the property there is 2 quite large areas of black mold. One in the bedroom along the bottom of one of the walls which looks as though its been scraped off and a large patch over the shower which looks a little fuzzy (so I dont think they have touched this at all). There are a few little areas in the lounge but it looks quite old.
Im just so upset, I have read that black mold is toxic potentially lethal and I dont think I should have to clear his house out for him!! (He was meant to have done this yesterday when I got the keys).


Don't panic - the mould will have been caused by condensation/inadequate ventilation of the property over a period of time and can be elimated and prevented, with a few basic measures. Read this link :

http://www.esecure.co.uk/newbiokilshop/downloads/Anti%20Condensation%20Products/Black%20Mould%20Treatment.pdf

There are other products on the market- you don't have to use theirs. Having eradicated the existing mould, it's important to keep the house heated and ventilated in winter, avoid drying clothes indoors (use a tumble drier ventilated to the outside, or a rotary drier in garden). Mould (of different types) is relatively common problem in houses where no-one has opened the windows in months. Having a good extractor fan fitted in the bathroom (near bath or shower), and kitchen (above cooker, ideally) will make a big difference.

Also the guy that lived there has left cuboards, drawers, the garage and shed filled with junk that has to be moved! The garage is unusable as there is a 3 piece suite in there (not usable!) and basically left all his kids toys, nail varnish, clothes, brushes and toliet brushes!! eww

There is ALOT of cleaning to be done before I can consider moving in and the whole place desperately needs painting. The main bedroom door wont close as it wasnt hung properly .... !
Please please can someone advise me on the black mold and if I should insist on him clearing out garage etc as they left all their cr*p lying around everywhere!

The tenancy starts from Monday.

I think you need to contact the LL and ask whether he has plans (a) to decorate and clean and (b) remove his possessions or not (assuming it says in the Tenancy Contract that you have the right to use the garage?) Take it from there. If you like the house enough, it may be worth compromising over these things in the short term, to stay on good terms with your LL. He should do them - they are his responsibility - and may well be willing to, if asked. The mould is the priority and he should pay for that - write to, or phone him explaining what needs doing and ask him to pay. The Environmental Health Officer can compel him to, if necessary, but it's worth just asking him, first!
If you are willing to do the cleaning yourself (or even the decorating) he may be willing to pay you to do it.Hope this helps.

firefly
17-01-2009, 15:31 PM
Hi thanks for replying, I will bring it up but Im afraid that although what I am asking for is reasonable, he may just think Im being awkward.

The mould bothers me the most as I have read online that it can be very dangerous and even fatal and we are both asthma sufferers.

The LL is a friend of the guy who owns the property and he has left to go live abroad already, he was the guy that was supposed to have cleared it out before he left but also the LL inspected the property and didnt say anything.

What worries me is that I am on my own (with various health issues) and a young daughter, he told me I have a garage which I was pleased about but as I said nothing can be put in there let alone a car as 2 old sofas are in there with alot of baby toys etc... I spent all this morning there and have 12 bin bags full of old broken toys, make up and xmas cards, school reports etc and Im nowhere half way through yet! Its so daunting and theres no way I can move in by Monday ... I feel I should be given my 1st rent money back until the place is ready to move in but do you think I am being unreasonable asking him to rectify these things first??

Sorry I know I have repeated myself but still cannot get over the things that need doing!

mind the gap
17-01-2009, 15:48 PM
Hi thanks for replying, I will bring it up but Im afraid that although what I am asking for is reasonable, he may just think Im being awkward.

The mould bothers me the most as I have read online that it can be very dangerous and even fatal and we are both asthma sufferers.

The LL is a friend of the guy who owns the property and he has left to go live abroad already, he was the guy that was supposed to have cleared it out before he left but also the LL inspected the property and didnt say anything.

What worries me is that I am on my own (with various health issues) and a young daughter, he told me I have a garage which I was pleased about but as I said nothing can be put in there let alone a car as 2 old sofas are in there with alot of baby toys etc... I spent all this morning there and have 12 bin bags full of old broken toys, make up and xmas cards, school reports etc and Im nowhere half way through yet! Its so daunting and theres no way I can move in by Monday ... I feel I should be given my 1st rent money back until the place is ready to move in but do you think I am being unreasonable asking him to rectify these things first??

Sorry I know I have repeated myself but still cannot get over the things that need doing!

Yes, I think it is a reasonable request. Strictly speaking the owner of the property is your LL (unless he has transferred this duty by law to someone else, e.g if he is incapable, etc). Otherwise the friend of the owner is his agent.

I point this out because it is the LL's (ie the owner's) responsibility to ensure the property is safe and complies with minimum requirements in terms of heating, water supply, electrical and gas safety etc. You have a choice:

1 clean and clear the house yourself, or
2 ring the LL or agent, politely explain your grievances and ask for them to be put right. You sould ask for a schedule showing when the work will be done. Ask if it's OK to get the mould treated as a matter of urgency because of the potential risk to your health and your daughter's.

If LL fails to respond to your request, get a quote for the mould treatment and advise him using a Letter Before Action that you intend to instruct a tradesperson to do it and that you will deduct cost from rent. Then inform the EHO at your council.

firefly
17-01-2009, 16:42 PM
Thank you very much for your advice. I will contact him and see what happens!

Rodent1
18-01-2009, 00:28 AM
Be careful that you have agreement to dispose of owners possessions as this could backfire on you if he suddenly wants them back!

Get agreement in writing.

You said in 1st post
"(He was meant to have done this yesterday when I got the keys)."
Do you mean sort all problems ? if so have you got this in writing ?

I do not think you are being at all unreasonable in your requests.
Local council will prob remove sofas for you and "agent" should arrange for all other problems to be sorted asap .....

I would be pleasan but firm about this and indicate your time spent on the task already, If a t approached me with ths problem i would not consider it "awkward" at all.

But then i'm a perfect LL!!! ha ha

The Rodent

mind the gap
18-01-2009, 00:32 AM
But then i'm a perfect LL!!! ha ha The Rodent

Rodent, that makes three things I have discovered we have in common (much against my better judgement:p)!

Bel
18-01-2009, 00:47 AM
Its great that you dont have to pay a deposit because if things dont improve, you will not be worrying about losing the deposit if you feel you need to make a quick getaway.

I think you need to ask these questions at the beginning of the tenancy; they seem reasonable to me; its the way you do it that is important..use tact at the outset. If at all possible do not resort to EHO as this is bound to drive a wedge between you and LL. It really would be a last resort.

If the rent is market price then the LL should try harder, but if the rent is cheap, then I would probably just get on with it myself.

Otherwise get out the mould killer spray and be merciless until you have beaten it into submission.

Make sure you keep the shower room well ventilated after use (to the outside, not into the rest of the house) and keep furniture away from the wall so that air can circulate. It may be that there was furniture against the wall that allowed condensation to sit and grow mould

Rodent1
18-01-2009, 00:52 AM
Rodent, that makes three things I have discovered we have in common (much against my better judgement:p)!


Eh !
Did i miss the first 2 ?

The Rodent

mind the gap
18-01-2009, 00:55 AM
Its great that you dont have to pay a deposit because if things dont improve, you will not be worrying about losing the deposit if you feel you need to make a quick getaway.

I think you need to ask these questions at the beginning of the tenancy; they seem reasonable to me; its the way you do it that is important..use tact at the outset. If at all possible do not resort to EHO as this is bound to drive a wedge between you and LL. It really would be a last resort.

Otherwise get out the mould killer spray and be merciless until you have beaten it into submission.

Make sure you keep the shower room well ventilated after use (to the outside, not into the rest of the house) and keep furniture away from the wall so that air can circulate. It may be that there was furniture against the wall that allowed condensation to sit and grow mould

Bel, OP has paid a month's rent in advance and I assume she has signed a tenancy agreement, or will have by Monday, so I don't think she will be in a position to make 'a quick getaway' - she will be bound by the terms of the AST, won't she?

Also, if she and daughter are asthmatic, perhaps it's best if she doesn't so the spraying herself?

Rodent1
18-01-2009, 00:55 AM
Its great that you dont have to pay a deposit because if things dont improve, you will not be worrying about losing the deposit if you feel you need to make a quick getaway.

I think you need to ask these questions at the beginning of the tenancy; they seem reasonable to me; its the way you do it that is important..use tact at the outset. If at all possible do not resort to EHO as this is bound to drive a wedge between you and LL. It really would be a last resort.

If the rent is market price then the LL should try harder, but if the rent is cheap, then I would probably just get on with it myself.

Otherwise get out the mould killer spray and be merciless until you have beaten it into submission.


Make sure you keep the shower room well ventilated after use (to the outside, not into the rest of the house) and keep furniture away from the wall so that air can circulate. It may be that there was furniture against the wall that allowed condensation to sit and grow mould

100% agree with all the above. Take a shower -open window & door-get dressed(elsewhere!!)-then close window -result NO CONDENSATION EVER .Clear as mud!

The Rodent

mind the gap
18-01-2009, 00:56 AM
Clear as mud!The Rodent

I don't think you meant that.

Rodent1
18-01-2009, 00:57 AM
Bel, OP has paid a month's rent in advance and I assume she has signed a tenancy agreement, or will have by Monday, so I don't think she will be in a position to make 'a quick getaway' - she will be bound by the terms of the AST, won't she?

Also, if she and daughter are asthmatic, perhaps it's best if she doesn't so the spraying herself?



So..sow ..go ..ahhhhhhhhhhhh do?:p

Rodent1
18-01-2009, 00:58 AM
I don't think you meant that.
I did, as most T ...just cant understand it !

mind the gap
18-01-2009, 00:58 AM
Eh !
Did i miss the first 2 ?

The Rodent

You should be able to work out the first.
The second is that I too find Terry Pratchett unreadable.

Rodent1
18-01-2009, 01:09 AM
You should be able to work out the first.
The second is that I too find Terry Pratchett unreadable.

I thought we had established that you are female :confused: ?!
and Terry is not a Prat et he is a full blown Pratt ... mindnumbing, soporific even!


The Rodent

mind the gap
18-01-2009, 01:19 AM
I thought we had established that you are female :confused: ?!
and Terry is not a Prat et he is a full blown Pratt ... mindnumbing, soporific even!


The Rodent

There are more things you can work out from the the things I have posted on this forum, than the fact that I am female.

Pratchett : not even soporific, in my experience; he just anaesthetises my brain in an irritating sort of way. By the time I've got to the last word in one of his sentences, I've forgotten/lost interest in the beginning of it. The only comparable series which had this effect on me was the My Little Pony books (circa 1990). My daughter was obsessed with them and I read them over and over again to her but without having a clue what I had read. Worrying.

Rodent1
18-01-2009, 01:20 AM
Mum ...is that you ?
You stay up late as well ?
Men from South Africa ?
Lioness?

Rodent1
18-01-2009, 01:32 AM
There are more things you can work out from the the things I have posted on this forum, than the fact that I am female.

Pratchett : not even soporific, in my experience; he just anaesthetises my brain in an irritating sort of way. By the time I've got to the last word in one of his sentences, I've forgotten/lost interest in the beginning of it. The only comparable series which had this effect on me was the My Little Pony books (circa 1990). My daughter was obsessed with them and I read them over and over again to her but without having a clue what I had read. Worrying.

Worse than this is my daughters hero: BOO (google it !) as Anne Robonson would say "what is the point?"

mind the gap
18-01-2009, 01:35 AM
Worse than this is my daughters hero: BOO (google it !) as Anne Robonson would say "what is the point?"

This Boo?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/boo/

I thought she was 14:confused:

mind the gap
18-01-2009, 01:36 AM
Mum ...is that you ?
You stay up late as well ?
Men from South Africa ?
Lioness?

Que? I only understand one of these four!

Rodent1
18-01-2009, 02:00 AM
This Boo?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/boo/

I thought she was 14:confused:

Yes that Bloo thing!
The other one is 3!!!

Rodent1
18-01-2009, 02:01 AM
Que? I only understand one of these four!

Which one ?

firefly
18-01-2009, 14:13 PM
Hi again and thanks for the info.

I am renting this through someone the council referred me to and they told me if I have any queries I can come to them as they know this agent and have rented many properties from him in the past.

I still havent contacted him and am thinking that I will go and see the lady tomorrow with the pics I took yesterday of the mold etc to see if she can arrange something with the agent (as she also knows him) so it might be better coming from her!

I desperately want the place and have resigned myself to clearing out the rubbish (I already text the agent to see if LL wanted anything before I threw it out, to which he said no) but when I was going through everything most of it was rubbish, broken toys etc anyway.

I did notice some mold spray left in the kitchen yesterday but have also read that with black mold you should be wearing a mask if you touch it as the spores are then released into the air and is very dangerous! I think this has scared me the most as its not your average green mold, this stuff is toxic and no matter that Id be homeless I cannot move in with this health hazzard or put my daughter through it. I just hope agent will be agreeable to remove it (another thing I heard is it has to be treated with certain chemicals by a professional) .... been reading ALOT online!!! LOL

Anyway thanks to all again, will see what the community housing says about it all tomorrow!

Wet
19-01-2009, 02:10 AM
If your really worried just ring your local Council Environmental Health Department (or ask Health Worker etc to do it on your behalf) they will inspect the property and if anything needs to be done ie. not just condensation they will write to the LL for you - that way you are not directly contacting LL

By the same token if the mould is a serious damp problem that will have a negative affect on your health or that of your daughter the EH are the people to deal with that as well, and will deal with the ousing department on your behalf.

They will also be able to deal with the clearance of rubbish from the property.

mind the gap
19-01-2009, 09:33 AM
If your really worried just ring your local Council Environmental Health Department (or ask Health Worker etc to do it on your behalf) they will inspect the property and if anything needs to be done ie. not just condensation they will write to the LL for you - that way you are not directly contacting LL

By the same token if the mould is a serious damp problem that will have a negative affect on your health or that of your daughter the EH are the people to deal with that as well, and will deal with the ousing department on your behalf.

They will also be able to deal with the clearance of rubbish from the property.

I agree that the EH will be able to deal with it, but OP want to move in today and I think EH depts can sometimes move slowly, their wonders to perform. I still think (as Bel and I have suggested) that she needs to make contact with the LL/agent first and see what they are willing to do (or not) - I supsect this old man hasn't had much experience of letting out property - he may well not realise the standard tenants expect these days. Only if he is inert/unco-operative about it should OP start contacting EHO, don't you think?

Bel
19-01-2009, 10:31 AM
Firefly

We cannot see the amount or "quality" of your block mould or spores.

Granted, you dont want to go round breathing the stuff in, but as soon as the mould it wetted down prior to cleaning, the spores cannot be released into the air anymore.

Its the same with asbestos in artex, which can dampened down and then scraped off in relative safety while it is still moist.

And if the air bourne droplets of mould killer spray are likely to affect you, you can apply with a sponge.

firefly
20-01-2009, 12:10 PM
Hi and thanks for the advice.

The agent rang me today and told me the LL had paid someone to clear the house prior to his leaving the UK, which he paid for, so the agent told me he will be very angry to hear they did not do the job they were paid for.

As for the sofas in the garage. When I first looked at the property he said I had a garage also, this I was pleased about. Last Friday I picked the keys up and he told me then that there were sofas in the garage if I wanted them. I said no. So when I brought this up with him today, he told me "I told you about the sofas in the garage". He also said they were not usable.

About the bedroom door being ajar, he said he will come by and take a look at it in a couple of weeks when he has to repair some tiling on the roof.

As for the mould ..... He told me one of the LL's friends had been staying there the past month and he had the heating on constantly and never opened any windows etc so the mould has just appeared (it looked old) and that if I used sugar soap I should be able to get it off and repaint over it all.

So all in all not much help at all!!! I dont know if its "safe" to start scraping away at it? I read it shouldnt be done without a mask etc ...

I cant believe that nothing is going to be done, I will have to ring council so they can take away sofas but I still have to drag them out of the garage and they only pick up one a week if that! Where am I meant to store my furniture in the meantime??

Sorry for the mega long posts but I dont know what to do, just bite the bullet and get on with it??

Thanks in advance!

firefly
20-01-2009, 12:24 PM
Here are some of the pics I took of the mould ...

firefly
20-01-2009, 12:28 PM
few more ....

Izzycam
20-01-2009, 13:51 PM
Maybe you should have not rented the house in the first place, did you not see this when you viewed......I would contact the landlord and say you would like the jobs done as soon as possible (2 weeks would be a reasonable time frame), then if not done contact your enviromental health, they will know what is right and wrong,try to give the landlord the chance to rectify first, as contacting the enviromental health will set you off on the wrong footing if you intend to stay at the property.

firefly
20-01-2009, 14:12 PM
Did not see the extent of the mould no as no electrics at that time. Rung up environmental health and they said it should be ok to clean and repaint (wasnt what I expected to hear).

I have also arranged for council to collect 1st sofa on Monday so we are getting there.

I still would prefer the let to start a week later at least as there is so much to do there.