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matt19849
12-03-2009, 14:01 PM
Hi,
I just have a little problem. I'm currenty having a dispute with our land lady over a few different things and its going to small claims court. One of the problems in the mould that was growing in the flat.
Before we moved in we were told there was a little bit of mould with the last tennants that had be solved and on the inventory it states there is a little bit of mould in the corner of the shower. Over the 6months of staying there we got really bad mould growing in one bathroom and both bedrooms and a little in the lounge. We've lost a lot of clothes, cupboards and a matress because of mould growing on them so we complained.
The got a surveyor in to have a look at the mould and he put it down to condensation.
I was wondering if I post a couple of pics on here of the mould would you be able to tell me if it was down to condensation or not? Also because there was mould in the flat before and looking on an article on this website it says 'In addition to this, with lifestyle causes, once the mould growth has been allowed to take hold at some point in the history of the property, say with a tenant who lived with inadequate heating and ventilation, and produced excessive amounts of moisture (steam) through cooking, washing, internal drying etc, it can reoccur again and again.' do we stand a chance in the small claims court?

Cheers in advanced, Matt

jta
12-03-2009, 14:07 PM
Mould is almost always caused by lack of ventilation, have you got a dehumidifier?, do you use trickle ventilators on your windows? Do you dry clothes indoors? You have to allow the moisture to get out or you will always get mould.

SALL
12-03-2009, 14:20 PM
Hi,
I just have a little problem. I'm currenty having a dispute with our land lady over a few different things and its going to small claims court. One of the problems in the mould that was growing in the flat.
Before we moved in we were told there was a little bit of mould with the last tennants that had be solved and on the inventory it states there is a little bit of mould in the corner of the shower. Over the 6months of staying there we got really bad mould growing in one bathroom and both bedrooms and a little in the lounge. We've lost a lot of clothes, cupboards and a matress because of mould growing on them so we complained.
The got a surveyor in to have a look at the mould and he put it down to condensation.
I was wondering if I post a couple of pics on here of the mould would you be able to tell me if it was down to condensation or not? Also because there was mould in the flat before and looking on an article on this website it says 'In addition to this, with lifestyle causes, once the mould growth has been allowed to take hold at some point in the history of the property, say with a tenant who lived with inadequate heating and ventilation, and produced excessive amounts of moisture (steam) through cooking, washing, internal drying etc, it can reoccur again and again.' do we stand a chance in the small claims court?

Cheers in advanced, Matt


What is your claim for?

matt19849
12-03-2009, 17:12 PM
Hi, we only ever dried our clothes in the lounge or on the roof terrace. When we showered etc we always had the windows open.
At first we didnt have keys for the windows and the estate agents told us it was to expensive to get the windowsreplaced as they all had unique keys - we spoke to our next door neighbour and borrowed her keys they worked fine.
We always ventilated the place as best as possible. We didnt have a dehumidifier because of the costs of running one and at the time we only had a month or two left of the tennancy.
The claims are firstly for all the hassel we have had with the place - the costs involved in replacing our personal property because of the mould etc and the estate agents not being willing to help with any problems like not having hot water for 3 weeks etc.And secondly the other claim is because the estate agents didnt put our deposit in any tennancy scheme which we have been told to by our solicitor that its a criminal offence and were legally entitled to 3x the amount of the deposit back.

Cheers

mind the gap
12-03-2009, 17:16 PM
Hi, we only ever dried our clothes in the lounge or on the roof terrace. When we showered etc we always had the windows open.
At first we didnt have keys for the windows and the estate agents told us it was to expensive to get the windowsreplaced as they all had unique keys - we spoke to our next door neighbour and borrowed her keys they worked fine.
We always ventilated the place as best as possible. We didnt have a dehumidifier because of the costs of running one and at the time we only had a month or two left of the tennancy.
The claims are firstly for all the hassel we have had with the place - the costs involved in replacing our personal property because of the mould etc and the estate agents not being willing to help with any problems like not having hot water for 3 weeks etc.And secondly the other claim is because the estate agents didnt put our deposit in any tennancy scheme which we have been told to by our solicitor that its a criminal offence and were legally entitled to 3x the amount of the deposit back.

Cheers

The deposit protection issue is by far the most serious for your LL and I would certainly pursue it, unless you have had your deposit returned in full already. Have you?

I wouldn't hold your breath over being reimbursed for the mould issue - it is notoriously hard to porve it was the LL's fault, as most mould is casued by condensation due to Ts lifestyle.

matt19849
12-03-2009, 17:20 PM
They returned our deposit as soon as the found out we were going to small claims court but we wrote them a letter saying we were returning the as the court case was still ongoing and posted the cheques back to them via recored mail.
We did ask them not to send them out but they havnt listened for the last 6months of our tennacy.

We have been told that the previous tennants wrecked the flat and they had to get the whole place re-decorated etc so they could have caused the mould then - looking at some of the mould that was appearing it looked like it was coming through the paint as if it had been painted over.

WickedLandlord
12-03-2009, 17:37 PM
Hi Matt

I could be wrong but the problem is almost always condensation that causes the mould, and if the mould/mildew isn't removed then the spores migrate and the contamination area is increased.

My first tenant was apoplectic because of problems which she claimed were caused by damp. As we'd lived in the flat for over 20 years before renting it out, I was sceptical about this because there had never been any problems of that nature. Initially and with their permission, I visited and used Dettox Mould & Mildew Remover to scrub down the affected area, so that I could check everywhere thoroughly and then left the spray bottle with them.

To show goodwill, I next asked a surveyor friend for advice; then I called in my builder; lastly I got the managing agent to check both the interior and the external elevation of the property. All said the same thing: condensation, lack of ventilation.

So I offered to get a formal survey done but said that if the survey stated the cause to be condensation, then I would expect my tenant to bear the cost; the alternative was for the tenant to commission a survey which the I as landlord would pay for if the cause was not due to lifestyle. I also explained the need for ventilation, and added that we had always kept a window slightly open in the bedroom at night; apparently the tenant and her OH kept both the bedroom door and the window closed overnight (and the problem was confined to the bedroom).

One of my friends pointed out the bleedin' obvious to me: it wasn't the sleeping that was creating the steamy windows.

HTH and I hope you get the deposit issues sorted.

matt19849
12-03-2009, 18:02 PM
I agree totally with that it could well be down to bad ventilation the only problem I have is we always ventilated the place really well. The place just always felt damp.
I'm just not 100% convinced that the previous tennant was that great at ventilation and caused the mould then the land lady just painted over it.

After moving out within about 3weeks our property was back up for rent - bare in mind that there was mould all over the walls in two bedrooms and in one bathroom and the lounge, also on the carpets. They way I see it is how can she be renting the place already surely they would have to get the whole place sorted before renting again i.e remove all traces of mould re-paint and poss even re-carpet the flat. On top of this on the surveyors report he did state there was slight penetration of moisture coming through on what used to be the old chimney in the lounge (apprently not enough to cause mould though) so this would have to be sorted too.

This is why im a bit on edge and think it could have been mould there before and not sorted properly.

foi1983
12-03-2009, 18:39 PM
Matt,

You don't happen to live in Streatham do you? Because this is exactly the same problem that our neighbours had. Word for word.

matt19849
12-03-2009, 18:46 PM
Afraid not - from Bournemouth nice to know im not alone though :D
What have your neighbours done?

foi1983
12-03-2009, 18:49 PM
Why do people always blame the tenants?

It is not the always the tenants fault.

I currently live in a new build private block of flats and all of the flats on the top floor are having problems with damp, condensation and mould.

They have brought builders in who have discovered that the flats were not built properly. There are no air bricks in the walls or trickle vents in the windows. The windows are also of a low quality.

There are no windows in the bathrooms or kitchen (as we are on the top floor), just sky lights. The extractors fitted in the bathrooms have been incorrectly fitted vertically instead of horizontally and they are not pwerful enough to suck the hot air out. Instead, they are sucking the air up a little bit, cooling it and it is dripping back down into the bathrooms.

The ceiling is leaking and causing damp which has led to mould in the built-in wardrobes.

This has nothing to do with me, the tenant. Its the landlord's responsibility.

foi1983
12-03-2009, 18:52 PM
Read my next post as well mat. It is not always the tenants fault.

My neighbours had to move out. The landlord allowed to leave a month early. There was mould everywhere. The moved out 4 weeks ago and the flat has since been rented out. The landlord just scrubbed the mould off and painted over it.

mind the gap
12-03-2009, 19:02 PM
Why do people always blame the tenants?

It is not the always the tenants fault.

I currently live in a new build private block of flats and all of the flats on the top floor are having problems with damp, condensation and mould.

They have brought builders in who have discovered that the flats were not built properly. There are no air bricks in the walls or trickle vents in the windows. The windows are also of a low quality.

There are no windows in the bathrooms or kitchen (as we are on the top floor), just sky lights. The extractors fitted in the bathrooms have been incorrectly fitted vertically instead of horizontally and they are not pwerful enough to suck the hot air out. Instead, they are sucking the air up a little bit, cooling it and it is dripping back down into the bathrooms.

The ceiling is leaking and causing damp which has led to mould in the built-in wardrobes.

This has nothing to do with me, the tenant. Its the landlord's responsibility.

I agree that in your case, it does indeed sound as though the design or construction of the building is to blame.

However...the problem of condensation causing mould in rented property is endemic (there are several queries per week on LLZ about it, to the point where we will end up with a forum specifically called 'Mould-Related Questions'), yet owner occupiers rarely seem troubled by it. Seriously. Now, this could be interpreted two ways :

1. Owner occupiers live in better quality accommodation (than most rented property) and it is not as prone to damp as most rental properties, or,

2. Owner occupiers take better care of their property because it is theirs, and do not create the condensation in the first place.

I incline to the latter. Tenants of rental properties tend to have lower incomes and are not as willing to see the heat they have paid good money for, go out of the window. To save money, they tend to heat their homes to a lower temperature than owner occupiers do;they don't open the windows as much as they should and they take showers and dry clothes in the property with the windows shut. Owner occupiers know that this causes mould to grow and they use a tumble dryer or a washing line. Tenants may not have this option and understandably they do not want to pay to use the driers at a laundry.

Landlords who have any sense install good quality extractor fans vented to the outside in kitchens and bathrooms, but in the end, tenants must be responsible for the build up of condensation, assuming there is no basic fault in the design of the ventilation system or windows.

If tenants aired the property and did not dry washing inside, the great majority of mould would disappear.

For what it's worth, dampness surveys are carried out by people with a vested interest in discovering...er, damp, in the hope they will make a nice profit out of you. They are NOT independent or impartial!

matt19849
12-03-2009, 19:03 PM
The thing is with a surveyors report saying its down to condensation the tennants (us) can't really do anything about it which doesn't seem fair. Although after reading the report again i've noticed this:
'The report does not purport to be any form of building survey'
Which to me looks like this report hasn't checked the building just the flat which in a way is pretty useless? Surely they should have checked the building - i.e walls, roofs or even to see if the flat below had bad ventilation but they hadn't they've just checked our flat which proves nothing.....right? or is that all wrong?

As for always blaming the tennants guess were the lucky ones - we get to spend the money on rent and get to pay out for damages that aren't caused by us

mind the gap - Reading your post we had ventilation in the ensuit but it was only a small extrator fan (which at one point had water coming out of it) but the windows were always opened when using the bathroom and we had a washer dryer already installed in the flat which we dried our clothes in

foi1983
12-03-2009, 19:12 PM
I agree that in your case, it does indeed sound as though the design or construction of the building is to blame.

However...the problem of condensation causing mould in rented property is endemic (there are several queries per week on LLZ about it, to the point where we will end up with a forum specifically called 'Mould-Related Questions'), yet owner occupiers rarely seem troubled by it. Seriously. Now, this could be interpreted two ways :

1. Owner occupiers live in better quality accommodation (than most rented property) and it is not as prone to damp as most rental properties, or,

2. Owner occupiers take better care of their property because it is theirs, and do not create the condensation in the first place.

I incline to the latter. Tenants of rental properties tend to have lower incomes and are not as willing to see the heat they have paid good money for, go out of the window. To save money, they tend to heat their homes to a lower temperature than owner occupiers do;they don't open the windows as much as they should and they take showers and dry clothes in the property with the windows shut. Owner occupiers know that this causes mould to grow and they use a tumble dryer or a washing line. Tenants may not have this option and understandably they do not want to pay to use the driers at a laundry.

Landlords who have any sense install good quality extractor fans vented to the outside in kitchens and bathrooms, but in the end, tenants must be responsible for the build up of condensation, assuming there is no basic fault in the design of the ventilation system or windows.

Sorry, I do not agree with you. Our rent is the more than most people pay as a monthly mortgage payment for a similar property and I probably earn more than the average couple do jointly.

This is down to useless and unscrupulous landlords who want to make a quick profit at the expense of trusting tenants.

This is also down to the fact that most new builds are of low quality as they are built in record time. New builds nowadays probably have a shelf life of less than 100 years.

foi1983
12-03-2009, 19:18 PM
The thing is with a surveyors report saying its down to condensation the tennants (us) can't really do anything about it which doesn't seem fair. Although after reading the report again i've noticed this:
'The report does not purport to be any form of building survey'
Which to me looks like this report hasn't checked the building just the flat which in a way is pretty useless? Surely they should have checked the building - i.e walls, roofs or even to see if the flat below had bad ventilation but they hadn't they've just checked our flat which proves nothing.....right? or is that all wrong?

As for always blaming the tennants guess were the lucky ones - we get to spend the money on rent and get to pay out for damages that aren't caused by us

mind the gap - Reading your post we had ventilation in the ensuit but it was only a small extrator fan (which at one point had water coming out of it) but the windows were always opened when using the bathroom and we had a washer dryer already installed in the flat which we dried our clothes in

You're absolutely right. The same thing happened to us. The property management company kept on telling us to open the windows and that it was our faults.

All the tenants kicked up a fuss until they called out 3 builders. The first 2 builders were useless. The third builder went on the roof and visited all flats. Thats when he found out that there were no air bricks, the trickle vents werent working, the extractors had been fitted vertically instead of horizontally, there were holes in the roof where they had fitted the extractors and not sealed the roof back up properly and the builders had not used enough lead on the roof (or something like that) because they wanted to save money.

My advice is to not back down. Did you take picture evidence?

matt19849
12-03-2009, 19:34 PM
Yeah we got quite a few photo's of the flat and some of our property and a video of the whole flat just before we left, heres some of the pics:

http://picasaweb.google.com/matt19849/FlatProblems#

Its a bit late to get builders in as we've moved out now plus we dont really have the money to be paying for upto 3-4 builders to do a survey, we've had to pay out a fair bit for the court fees so far.
Have you got any advice on how we can counter claim against their surveyors report, I think thats the only thing thats really looking bad for us at the moment even though it does state its not a building survey and there was slight dampness coming through the wall in the loung chimney

mind the gap
12-03-2009, 19:41 PM
Sorry, I do not agree with you. Our rent is the more than most people pay as a monthly mortgage payment for a similar property and I probably earn more than the average couple do jointly. ..
In that case you are unusual, however it is a red herring since we have already agreed that in your case the condensation was due to poor design.



This is down to useless and unscrupulous landlords who want to make a quick profit at the expense of trusting tenants.
I am sure that there are indeed some landlords who want to make a quick profit by putting tenants into low-quality housing, then blaming mould growth on them, but it does not explain the huge numbers of tenants who report this problem and the relatively tiny number of owner occupiers who do.


This is also down to the fact that most new builds are of low quality as they are built in record time. New builds nowadays probably have a shelf life of less than 100 years. If that is the case then I would agree that it is a contribuory factor and if many of these newbuilds are tenanted rather than owner occupied, it might explain the disproportion I have referred to above.. However, it would appear to be the case that in blocks of flats, the ones which are owner occupied suffer less from mould than the ones around them which are let out. We have eradicated the problem in several student houses (and students are notoriously bad at opening windows and heating the houses sensibly) by providing better extraction in the bathroom (six showers per day at least!) and a tumble dryer (correctly vented) and insisting they use it. The problem has vanished.