A senior lawyer has warned landlords that they must not blame tenants for mould within their rented homes.
Claire Campbell (pictured), a partner at Scottish legal firm Thompsons, says blaming tenants for mould particularly during the winters months is not ‘a legitimate defence’.
She also says her daily casework leads her to believe that many landlords and insurance companies believe mould is largely down to tenant ‘lifestyle choices’.
Writing in The Scotsman, she adds: “Landlords have a duty to provide safe, habitable properties and they should be designed to handle moisture generated from normal day-to-day living.
“Time and again, I speak with clients who advise numerous complaints to their landlords were ignored or damp patches simply painted over with the landlord failing to investigate the cause of the problem.
“I’m even aware of clients being told to keep their windows open all the time to prevent mould – not a comfortable prospect in our cold Scottish winters.”
Referencing the tragic case of toddler Awaab Ishak in December 2020 whose death was attributed to mould within his Rochdale council home, Campbell says failure to prevent damp and mould occurring leads to the development of airborne mould spores which are extremely harmful to human health, often leading to respiratory symptoms.
She praises the Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 passed recently within England and Wales but slams her own Government for failing to follow up with similar legislation, calling for ‘urgent action’.
As LandlordZONE reported last week, a cross-party group of MPs believes the Act should be extended to tenants in the private rented sector.