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remyrobson
27-03-2010, 13:18 PM
Hello all,
My question is is LL or T responsible for repair to paint work damaged above a shower as a result of condensation? Three T's use the bathroom, they all have individual AST's.

The room is ventilated by an extractor fan appropriate for the space which comes on with the lighting, and there is a very large double glazed, opening window within a few feet of the shower which has a ventilation catch (is that the right name for it?). The house has been HMO inspected and the ventilation was given the seal of approval.
The ceiling was painted less than a year ago around 4 weeks after being plastered, using 2 sizing coats of watered down emulsion and 2 coats of kitchen and bathroom paint, it has now started peeling off.
I don't know how often the T opens the window to ventilate the room but it will generally be used for 3 showers a day, probably all around the same time.
This is the only shower room in which this problem has occurred. There are 3 other showers in the house, all decorated at the same time, in the same way and all ventilated with the same extractor fan, 2 of them do not have a window.

Is this likely to be a problem caused by an error on our part (LL), or T not ventilating the room appropriately? In which case should we repair the damage and request that they ventilate the room better, or should they pay for the repair? Do the individual AST's mean that the LL is responsible for the shared areas and they are only responsible for their rooms?
All advice appreciated!

Snorkerz
27-03-2010, 18:57 PM
The tenants are only responsible for the areas that their ASTs cover.

Had the property been let to all the tenants on a single AST, the bathroom would have been included in the rent (although you would get less rent) so they would be reponsible for any damage they had caused.

Condensation is moisture caused by the tenants and as such, is tenants fault - but you have no way of identifying which tenant caused the damage, or if several, in what proportion.

mind the gap
27-03-2010, 19:21 PM
I agree with Snorkerz about it being difficult to apportion blame, but if any damage/repairs to communal areas can be demonstrated to be the fault of the Ts (as opposed to LL) they are liable, aren't they - just as they would be if one/all of them scratched the kitchen work surfaces, or the bath? This would seem to be a case where they have all used the same shower (why, when there are more?!) and none of them has opened the window afterwards. All need to contribute to cost of repair (in my view).

I would add that it might be worth expressing your concern to the Ts that preventable condensation and possibly mould (which can be a health risk)is building up in a room which is perfectly ventilatable.

Snorkerz
27-03-2010, 19:37 PM
I am sure we had this on here a couple of monhs ago (have searched for the thread - honest) where a LL wanted to deduct damages to a communal area from a deposit. Rodent1 sided with you, but our beloved "Topic Expert" Jeffrey gave the opinion that I repeated above - ie tenants are responsible for their own rooms only.

Obviously, provable damage is different - if they smash a bus-shelter, they are responsible even if they don't have an AST for it!

mind the gap
27-03-2010, 19:47 PM
I am sure we had this on here a couple of monhs ago (have searched for the thread - honest) where a LL wanted to deduct damages to a communal area from a deposit. Rodent1 sided with you, but our beloved "Topic Expert" Jeffrey gave the opinion that I repeated above - ie tenants are responsible for their own rooms only.

Obviously, provable damage is different - if they smash a bus-shelter, they are responsible even if they don't have an AST for it!

I think it must be this thread:

http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=25234&highlight=communal+areas&page=3

On re-reading it, I do indeed remember that it's unenforceable - but I suppose that is because it would just be practically impossible in many cases to know whom to charge.

One of the rare occasions when Rodent agreed with me yet we were both wrong!:rolleyes:

I would still be reading the Ts the riot act, however...

remyrobson
27-03-2010, 23:24 PM
Thanks for your opinions. If it helps, the other showers are all en-suites, 3 tenants use the communal bathroom. I emailed and made it very clear I was unimpressed about the lack of ventilation, the response I got was

"As you know, the fan comes on every time the light is turned on and we don't have a habit of having showers in the dark! Also, the room doesn't get that steamy when we have a shower. However, we will endeavour to open the window when the bathroom gets a little steamy just in case, but as the paint peeling is directly above the shower, I don't know how much this would actually help with the current situation."

I also included a link to the article on here about mould which T said wasn't relevant! It has some very good tips on avoiding condensation though so I think she saw the title and didn't read it. To clarify, the fan and window are around 5 feet away from the shower so I think opening the window might just help or am I alone with this radical idea?

I agreed we would repaint the ceiling, however, they must ventilate the room properly in future, and if the problem re-occurred then they must fix it. Surely the only thing that will prevent it is proper ventilation? T is talking a load of rubbish.

Preston
27-03-2010, 23:39 PM
Whilst you have my sympathy, I think the tenants would win this one. It will be very difficult for you to demonstrate that they are not treating the property in a "tenant like manner" - which is their obligation in this context. The reality is that some bathrooms are more prone to condensation and resultant mould growth than others. It is, I think, reasonable to expect tenants to wide down certain surfaces from time to time, and to use the heating and ventilation provided, but if mould still results then it is very probably fair wear and tear. And I do have doubts as to whether it is reasonable to expect tenants to wipe down ceilings on a regular basis.

mind the gap
28-03-2010, 08:48 AM
Extend the tiling/waterproof surface around the shower to include the area affected by the condensation?

westminster
28-03-2010, 11:20 AM
I agreed we would repaint the ceiling, however, they must ventilate the room properly in future, and if the problem re-occurred then they must fix it. Surely the only thing that will prevent it is proper ventilation? T is talking a load of rubbish.
You say the ensuite showers aren't affected but that is surely because they have much less use than this shared shower. Such heavy use is bound to cause heavy condensation even if they do open the window, and I agree with Preston that expecting T to wipe down ceilings after a shower is unreasonable.

I would just install a much more powerful extractor fan inside the shower cubicle, one with a humidity sensor so that the fan stays on until the moisture is gone. Assuming it's a cubicle with a door rather than 'walk-in' shower, a fan which is five feet away, and which only comes on with the light, isn't going to be all that effective.

remyrobson
28-03-2010, 12:00 PM
The cubicle is partially open and if they left the door open it would dry out very easily. I agree it has heavier use than the en-suites but as T says she doesn't think it gets 'very steamy' and that they only open the window when it does, it leads me to think that they are not ventilating the room on a regular basis as they don't see the need. I'm sure if they were the ones to redecorate they might be more inclined to open the window a crack!
I think the best long term solution will be to tile above the cubicle but that is difficult to do when three people use the shower daily so it will need to be done when a couple of the rooms are vacant or T's are away. In the meantime it is hardly a chore to open the window and put the fan on whenever the shower is used. I don't imagine they will wipe the ceiling down though, even if we ask.

trill
28-03-2010, 14:58 PM
My question is is LL or T responsible for repair to paint work damaged above a shower as a result of condensation?

If you had bought paint with mould killer already in it, you wouldn't have been troubled with mould on the ceiling so readily, eg polycell coverup. As it's a communual shower, then anti-mould paint may have been worth using when the celing was replastered a year ago.

Of course the tenant should ventilate bathrooms to help prevent condensation. But if the fan only comes on with the light and not independently, you're not making it that straight-forward. Who wants to leave windows open for hours after using a shower and letting the icy outdoor air chill down the house?

The issue is about re-painting a mouldy corner above the shower. Why are you so worried about the cost of a pot of paint? Why bother with the argument about who's responsbile? Just go along with a pot of the correct paint and sort it out. There's even a paint product you can spray on ceilings designed for such a problem. If this is the worst of your problems, count yourself lucky.

mind the gap
28-03-2010, 15:30 PM
Although it is easy to dismiss this as a little local problem, perhaps it would be helpful to take a long view.

First, whilst the correct paint products may well help, condensation is sometimes unavoidable in areas of high usage where the fan is not immediately above the shower. Unless this is remedied (in the way westminster suggests) it will not just be a case of the LL 'popping along' with a pot of paint every so often.That is inconvenient enough in itself for both LL and Ts as the shower cannot be used for 24 hours afterwards. We had exactly the same problem in our student house and the only solution was to instal a powerful fan above the shower itself, vented out through the loft wall.

Also, the debate has been about the principle (of the extent to which Ts can be charged for repairs) and not just about this particular problem.

remyrobson
28-03-2010, 16:07 PM
Fortunately there is no mould growing, just paint peeling. I intend to fix it, although it will take a couple of trips 24 hours apart to allow drying time. I don't even need to buy paint, I have loads anyway from another bathroom we've just finished. My concern is that when it's all shiny and newly painted T's will forget and continue to have showers one after the other and not bother to open the window, even on trickle vent to reduce the chance of it peeling again. If they were to pay for the repaint they might be more considerate :rolleyes:. T's reply, 'it doesn't get that steamy' highlights their ignorance of the need for the room to be aired daily when it gets so much use. We have provided ventilation above and beyond the stipulations in the HMO documents, and if it is used correctly this problem should not occur.

In my home we have a similar size and layout shower room which does not have a fan fitted at all (it is a former student house and they had no problems with it judging by the lack of damp/mould when we moved in), it is also used 3 times a day. We open the window before we leave the room, either on vent or fully after each use. In the 8 months we have lived here we have had no problems with peeling paint or mould, and it is decorated with paint from the same tin as the problem room. This makes me think T is at fault and that this problem is preventable.

If I ask them to repaint it if it reoccurs then what's the worst that they can do? Say no?

mind the gap
28-03-2010, 16:26 PM
If I ask them to repaint it if it reoccurs then what's the worst that they can do? Say no?

I suppose so - but to be honest I would rather do it myself than risk letting Ts do it. :eek: Many people just do not have a clue when it comes to painting. You could end up with a much more expensive clean-up job (paint all over shower etc) than you bargained for.

westminster
28-03-2010, 20:51 PM
In my home we have a similar size and layout shower room which does not have a fan fitted at all (it is a former student house and they had no problems with it judging by the lack of damp/mould when we moved in), it is also used 3 times a day. We open the window before we leave the room, either on vent or fully after each use. In the 8 months we have lived here we have had no problems with peeling paint or mould, and it is decorated with paint from the same tin as the problem room. This makes me think T is at fault and that this problem is preventable.
Exactly the same here, though only two showers per morning; no extractor fan as I can't stand the noise, and we just open the window for 20 minutes after a shower. It's three years since the bathroom was painted, and not a single flake of peeling paint.

BUT - big but - these are tenants and you can't always rely on tenants to behave in a logical, practical manner. Nor, in this instance, do I think you can place the responsibility on them when it's an HMO - one person may open the window, the others may not - and arguably the extractor fan isn't up to the job, especially if it doesn't have a humidity sensor.

Also, do the Ts tend to leave the house immediately after the shower, because if so it may be a security risk to leave the window open? I doubt a trickle vent would do that much good.

What I try to do with my rental flats is make them as idiot-proof as possible. e.g. you have to assume the T will leave mugs of hot tea on a mahogany table, assume T will spill red wine on a cream carpet, assume T won't open the bathroom window, etc.

Pobinr
29-03-2010, 07:03 AM
Here's an example why I don't do shared houses or student houses.
A blames B blames C.
I stick to SC flats. Lower yield but less hassle.

Ericthelobster
29-03-2010, 08:37 AM
I emailed and made it very clear I was unimpressed about the lack of ventilation, the response I got was

"As you know, the fan comes on every time the light is turned on and we don't have a habit of having showers in the dark! ...."

Does the fan have a built-in over-run timer (most do)? You don't really want the fan to be turned off as soon as the shower is finished; unless it has a motor the size of a jumbo jet engine there's always going to be plenty of residual steam and condensation after the shower is turned off. If it is set to run for 10 minutes or so after the light goes off, there's a much better chance of the condensation being properly cleared.

A replacement fan with built-in humidistat, as mentioned by others, is not prohibitively expensive and would be even better.

remyrobson
29-03-2010, 19:09 PM
Evening all,
Eric, yes the fan has a run over timer of 10-15 mins. I have been looking at humidistat extractors online and they look identical to the one that is already in. Can anyone recommend a good extractor?
Hubby made the point that the main off switch is in the eaves storage in the attic. It could have been caught by accident or switched off on purpose. The current occupant doesn't have a good common sense track record and if the fan was making a noise they may have switched it off (fortunately they are leaving in a couple of weeks). I hope this isn't the case though!

Ericthelobster
29-03-2010, 22:00 PM
Can anyone recommend a good extractor?I fitted a Manrose 4" ceiling one a few years ago; cost 20 or 30 quid I think: was a straightforward like-for-like replacement for the old one.

Seems to work well in that condensation issues in the property concerned are significantly less than before; however it's still vulnerable to being switched off at the master switch if the tenant feels so inclined. Not a lot you can do about that since an override switch is mandatory.

mind the gap
29-03-2010, 22:05 PM
I fitted a Manrose 4" ceiling one a few years ago; cost 20 or 30 quid I think: was a straightforward like-for-like replacement for the old one.

Seems to work well in that condensation issues in the property concerned are significantly less than before; however it's still vulnerable to being switched off at the master switch if the tenant feels so inclined. Not a lot you can do about that since an override switch is mandatory.

Put the master switch outside on the roof? :D