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View Full Version : Damp started within four months of L's first letting



sueb
09-02-2009, 10:23 AM
Hi

we moved out of our family home of 15 years (no probs with damp) in Oct 2007 and let to tenants.
had phone call in Feb2008 saying patches of black mould were growing around windows and on ceilings.
advised tenants to ventilate and heat house properly, also suggested they use a dehumidifier to help rectify problem(we never had to use one).
all quite until a big bundle of mouldy pictures landed on the mat on new years eve! a bit annoyed to say the least as the dates on the photos were 6 - 7 Dec, accompanied by a letter suggesting that we have a faulty damp course and could do with cavity wall insulation (house is a 20 year old semi and was built with cavity insulation and i reckon they even put a damp course in). also threatened environmental health. Obviously if there is a problem with the property then we want to know so that we can protect our investment, also they have been pretty good tenants so want to rectify any problem. A phone call EHO revealled that the property had been visited in Feb 2008 and they had advised that the problem was due to condensation due to lifestyle.
An unannounced visit to the tenant at 3pm showed that all the upstairs curtains and blinds where tight shut, windows running in water and a very obvious humidity in the air, she had no reason as to all the curtains being closed and burst into tears when i suggested that lifestyle might be a factor (but i did say it as nicely as you can) also refused to take the advice leaflet sent byEHO.
decided that they are not able to try and help sort the problem themselves so gave them notice to quit.(EHO did suggest that we buy a dehumidifier and make a financial contribution towards running it if the tenants couldn't afford it).
have sent them another letter and EHO leaflet with a list of suggestions on how they might tackle the problem in the last few weeks of the tenancy. drivebys of the house show that all the curtains are still shut during the day and neighbours have reported that the windows are never opened and the heating doesn't appear to be run.

and finally my questions

what is the chance of being able to retain some of the deposit to cover the cost of treating the house with antifungal preps and redecorate with an antifungal paint and also the cost of buying a dehumidifier?

also although they do keep the house spotlessly clean i am reluctant to show prospective new tenants around until the house is sorted out ( a period with no rental income) any advice?

and finally how would any of you more experienced landlords handled the situation differently?

Edinburgh29
09-02-2009, 10:46 AM
Hi

we moved out of our family home of 15 years (no probs with damp) in Oct 2007 and let to tenants.
had phone call in Feb2008 saying patches of black mould were growing around windows and on ceilings.
advised tenants to ventilate and heat house properly, also suggested they use a dehumidifier to help rectify problem(we never had to use one).
all quite until a big bundle of mouldy pictures landed on the mat on new years eve! a bit annoyed to say the least as the dates on the photos were 6 - 7 Dec, accompanied by a letter suggesting that we have a faulty damp course and could do with cavity wall insulation (house is a 20 year old semi and was built with cavity insulation and i reckon they even put a damp course in). also threatened environmental health. Obviously if there is a problem with the property then we want to know so that we can protect our investment, also they have been pretty good tenants so want to rectify any problem. A phone call EHO revealled that the property had been visited in Feb 2008 and they had advised that the problem was due to condensation due to lifestyle.
An unannounced visit to the tenant at 3pm showed that all the upstairs curtains and blinds where tight shut, windows running in water and a very obvious humidity in the air, she had no reason as to all the curtains being closed and burst into tears when i suggested that lifestyle might be a factor (but i did say it as nicely as you can) also refused to take the advice leaflet sent byEHO.
decided that they are not able to try and help sort the problem themselves so gave them notice to quit.(EHO did suggest that we buy a dehumidifier and make a financial contribution towards running it if the tenants couldn't afford it).
have sent them another letter and EHO leaflet with a list of suggestions on how they might tackle the problem in the last few weeks of the tenancy. drivebys of the house show that all the curtains are still shut during the day and neighbours have reported that the windows are never opened and the heating doesn't appear to be run.

and finally my questions

what is the chance of being able to retain some of the deposit to cover the cost of treating the house with antifungal preps and redecorate with an antifungal paint and also the cost of buying a dehumidifier?

also although they do keep the house spotlessly clean i am reluctant to show prospective new tenants around until the house is sorted out ( a period with no rental income) any advice?

and finally how would any of you more experienced landlords handled the situation differently?

This Dampness you refer to with the mould, is a condensation mould, the secret to getting rid off it ( on walls ) is to wipe every bit of it away using a cloth with a fungicidal wash, Domestos does the trick, but you must wear gloves.

If you do not wipe every bit away it will re grow, it ia a fungus that multiplies.

The age of the property dictates it will have a DPC In it, the water on the windows is a sure sign of a condensation problem.

When they move out the problem will disapear, you will need to remove all the mould and probably have to redecorate, the anti fungicidal wall papar paste does help.

However you need to tackle the root of the problem which is a correct balance ot heat and ventilation.

what type of heating is in the property ? and are the windows double glazed ?

There are extractor fans that can be installed which have a built in de humidistat, ie they start working when the relative humidity reaches a level where condensation is happening.

As to how i would have handled it, if they were paying good rent and no problems paying it.

Id have looked at the property, started them off with a de humidifier you can buy them cheaply, id have got my decorator in to get rid of the mould, and looked at adjusting the heating in the property.

I Have found in the past as long as you are doing something to try to help most tennants are okay.

Condensation mould can also grow on shoes ,bags, and clothes, if it gets that bad, you need to think about extractor fans.

The thing about condensation is you nearer get complaints in the summer, windows open, heating not on etc, so it cures itself in the warmer weather.

In the winter, windows and curtains are close heating on full blast, and condensation streaming down the windows, and mould grows on the cold corners of the room, due to condensation.

Anyway i hope that helps you.

sueb
09-02-2009, 13:14 PM
thanks for your reply

we have gas central heating and double glazing

did suggest we go down the dehumidifier route but tenant says they cannot afford to run it (even if we buy one) and cannot afford to run the heating more.

has not followed any of the advice we have given, seems to think I can wave a magic wand and make it all better.

do you think we will be able to retain some of the deposit to put things right?

Edinburgh29
09-02-2009, 18:11 PM
thanks for your reply

we have gas central heating and double glazing

did suggest we go down the dehumidifier route but tenant says they cannot afford to run it (even if we buy one) and cannot afford to run the heating more.

has not followed any of the advice we have given, seems to think I can wave a magic wand and make it all better.

do you think we will be able to retain some of the deposit to put things right?

In my experience taking money from there deposit leads to endless problems, not to mention the possibility of a brick through the window.

Personally i always pay back the deposit and move on, i assume you self manage so you get a deposit from the next tenant who moves in.

At least with the new tenant you can explain before they move in about how they are to look after the property.

As soon as they move out, and you open the windows and ventilate the property the problem dissapears, so apart from minor decoration works, you are good to go again, but this time you are on the front foot.

mind the gap
09-02-2009, 18:21 PM
and finally how would any of you more experienced landlords handled the situation differently?

All the advice above, about getting rid of the mould - and educating the tenants about its prevention - is sound.

If your tenants are tediously determined neither to open the windows, nor to remove the mould themselves on a regular basis, it might be worth mentioning to them that it can be injurious to health to allow the mould to grow, especially black mould, which can be toxic. It is especially risky if anyone in the house suffers from asthma.

Sometimes this is sufficient to knock some sense into them.

sueb
10-02-2009, 09:44 AM
Thanks for your help.



Looking at all the other posts our problem is pretty insignificant so i think we will just move on, tidy up and relet with some "how to live in a house" info.