Can Landlords Be Fined For Ignoring Mould?

Tuesday 5th December 2023

Ellen Warren

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CONTENTS

Mould is an all too common issue tenants experience everywhere due to the current mould crisis in the UK. As Awaab's Law has come into effect for social housing, private landlords are not obligated to obey this new law, but they still have a responsibility to provide safe housing.

Our mould removal team are ready to step in and tackle the infestation smothering your home. We offer excellent mould cleaning services that completely clean and decontaminate your home, thoroughly eliminating the mould's presence and preventing its return.

Read on to learn about tenant rights and health regulations regarding mould infestations in rental properties.

Tenant rights and mould infestation

When it comes to mould, tenants have rights. There are various legislations and laws that state landlords must keep rental properties in a state fit for habitation. This means dealing with mould issues as soon as possible when they arise.

If your landlord ignores mould, you can take action. You might need to get a housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS) inspection from your local council. 

They can force the landlord to fix serious hazards like mould, and even fine them up to £30,000 and take away their license to rent a property.

If you are unsure of your rights as a tenant and do not know what to do for help, contacting the Shelter charity's advice line could be a step in the right direction for fighting landlord neglect.

Health regulations on mould

Mould poses serious health risks and is regulated under UK law. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) considers mould a biological agent that landlords must control to protect tenants' health. This regulation applies even if the property has minor dampness or condensation issues.

Failing to manage mould could lead to a landlord experiencing legal penalties and potential damage claims from affected tenants. So it is crucial for them not just to think about aesthetic concerns, but also consider their obligations under health regulations.

Building codes and mould

Mould is also considered a building code violation. When landlords neglect mould, they are ignoring these crucial regulations designed to keep properties and people safe.

In the UK, buildings must comply with HHSRS guidelines. This system evaluates potential hazards in homes - including damp and mould growth. Non-compliance can result in heavy penalties, as previously discussed.

If mould issues are ignored by your landlord, report them to your local council’s environmental health department. They will take action and assist you in having the mould removed from your property.

Real-life cases of landlords and housing associations ignoring mould

In a striking case, a woman in Eastbourne won £2.5k after suing her landlord over a mould infestation that was ignored after three years. After contacting a specialist in housing repairs, she was able to secure compensation for damages.

A similar incident occurred in London, where a client of MLA Solicitors successfully acquired £4k in compensation due to extensive damp, mould, and poor plasterwork after eight years. 

The client had informed the landlord and her local MP of the issues but received little assistance, and turned to legal help for a solution.

In a more tragic case, the Ishak family in Rochdale lost their two-year-old son, Awaab, due to chronic mould exposure that caused severe granulomatous tracheobronchitis - a severe respiratory condition.

Following this, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing dismissed its chief executive and was stripped of £1 million for new housing.

Expert opinions on landlords ignoring mould

When landlords overlook mould, they are taking a risk and potentially endangering their tenants. Housing Secretary Michael Gove says that mould is the sole responsibility of landlords, stating, “Damp and mould in the home are not the result of ‘lifestyle choices’..."

"It is the responsibility of landlords to identify and address the underlying causes of the problem, such as structural issues or inadequate ventilation.”

NHS doctors across the UK agree that long-term mould exposure could cause serious respiratory problems. They advise tenants experiencing persistent mould issues in their homes to get medical help immediately and report it to their local housing authority.

Introduction of Awaab's Law and its implications

Awaab's Law, a recent introduction to the legal landscape, focuses on mould issues in public housing. Named after Awaab Ishak, a victim of negligent landlords ignoring mould problems, this law serves as a beacon for tenant rights.

The key point of Awaab's Law is its focus on landlord accountability for maintaining safe living conditions in social housing. If they fail to do so due to negligence towards mould infestations or similar issues, they will face severe penalties.

At present, it applies only to social housing. But, tenants are asking for this to extend to private rentals – an exciting prospect that could give more tenants power against neglectful landlords.

Frequently asked questions

Is it the landlord's responsibility to get rid of mould?

In UK law, landlords must fix serious health hazards like mould. They need to ensure a safe and healthy living environment for their tenants.

Can I refuse to pay rent if there is mould?

No, but you can take legal action or ask your local council's environmental health department for help with persistent mould issues.

Can you sue your landlord for mould?

If your landlord neglects a severe mould issue causing harm to your health or property, you may be able to claim compensation in court.

What are my rights as a tenant with damp?

You have the right to live in a home free from excess moisture and dampness. If this is not met, seek advice from Citizens Advice or a solicitor.

Get in touch

At ICE Cleaning, our team offer mould remediation services that ensure any mould colonies are eradicated from your home. We work closely with your local council to ensure all regulations are met and that the state of your home is safe upon concluding our work.

To learn more about our mould cleaning services, contact our team today at 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk. We offer same-day cleaning in emergencies and operate nationwide to cover the UK during this mould epidemic. We work around the clock to protect you and your home, 24/7, 365 days a y

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