What Do Landlords Have To Do About Mould?

Tuesday 16th January 2024

Ellen Warren

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Man wearing a mask and gloves observes a damp patch

CONTENTS

Mould is more than a visual nuisance; it is a health hazard, lurking in damp corners and damaging property and health. As a landlord, you have likely seen these growths before and know the damage they can cause if left to fester and spread.

At ICE Cleaning, our mould cleaning services are paving the way for a new era of mould remediation in the UK. We conduct mould removal with state-of-the-art technology and solutions, working closely with landlords and tenants to ensure the property and home are safe for habitation again.

Read on to learn strategies for mould prevention, when to call in experts and how to talk about mould matters with tenants.

The legal framework governing mould remediation for landlords

UK landlords have a legal duty to provide safe, habitable living conditions. Under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), mould and damp are serious hazards to address. Failure to act can lead to large fines or even prosecution.

The Landlord and Tenant Act (1985) states that repairs fall within the landlords' remit, including issues leading to mould growth like broken ventilation systems or leaking pipes.

Meanwhile, The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 further empowers tenants, letting them take direct action if their homes are unsafe.

In recent years, Awaab's Law has been making traction as a new landmark Social Housing Regulation Act 2023. This act requires landlords to investigate and remediate mould within a specific timeframe. Although this is only for social housing landlords, this may eventually apply to private landlords.

Identifying mould infestations in rental properties

Spotting mould is not just about black spots on walls but also about being alerted to a musty smell or tenants reporting unexplained health issues - which might be related to allergic reactions. Damp patches on the wall, peeling wallpaper and excessive condensation on windows can also be signs.

Mould loves damp and poorly ventilated spaces, so kitchens, bathrooms, and basements are most likely to be affected. Regular inspections are vital because you can catch these infestations early before they become problems that could cost more time and money.

Being proactive is key. A swift response keeps your property safe and shows tenants that their health is a top priority — fostering a positive landlord-tenant relationship.

Health implications of mould exposure for tenants

Mould in rental properties is a health hazard, according to the HHSRS. When mould takes hold, tenants can suffer from respiratory issues like asthma or allergic reactions. Some types of mould produce mycotoxins, which are even more sinister, potentially leading to health conditions.

Tackling this problem head-on is a landlord’s duty and an investment in tenant wellbeing. Regular property checks and swift action at the first sign of dampness help prevent these risks. For landlords, being proactive is far better than facing legal action due to negligence.

To truly grasp the severity, consider that prolonged exposure to indoor mould increases the risk of developing respiratory diseases by 40-50%.

Preventative measures to minimise mould risks

To keep mould at bay, landlords must focus on moisture control. Ensure your properties have adequate ventilation, especially in high-humidity areas like bathrooms and kitchens. You should install extractor fans or dehumidifiers to help.

Next, check for leaks in the property and fix them immediately, whether it is a dripping tap or a leaky roof. Water intrusion can cause mould, so tackle these issues swiftly.

Lastly, educate tenants on reducing condensation by avoiding drying clothes indoors and using lids when cooking—small steps that make a big difference. At ICE Cleaning, we have created a guide for those struggling with mould or do not know how to prevent it.

Professional versus DIY mould remediation

Landlords face a critical decision when mould starts growing: to call in the experts or do it themselves. The choice is about safety, efficiency, and liability.

A small patch of mildew in a well-ventilated bathroom might be easy to remove. But, when experiencing an extensive infestation or toxic black mould, you need to call the professionals.

Professional mould cleaners have specialised equipment, advanced protective gear, and the knowledge to stop spores from spreading on your property. They also work closely with landlords, providing advice to ensure the mould does not return.

Communication with tenants regarding mould issues

When it comes to mould, keeping your tenants informed is necessary, because clear communication paves the way for trust and swift resolution. So, when you spot that mould in one of your properties, you must inform your tenants immediately.

Firstly, tell them what is going on and what you have seen. Explain what mould is, why it is a problem, and what you are doing about it. You can point them towards resources from NHS or HHSRS so they understand this is a health hazard.

If their health is at risk or repairs are extensive enough to need temporary relocation, alert them immediately. Always keep written records of these discussions as maintaining a paper trail can protect you from potential legal recourse.

Documentation and record-keeping for mould remediation

When it comes to mould, what you can show matters as much as what you do. That is why meticulous record-keeping is essential. Detailed documentation serves as your defence in any dispute, proving that you are meeting legal regulations — and maintaining a safe and healthy environment for tenants. 

You will need inspection reports showing initial mould detection, correspondence with tenants discussing the issue and steps taken to fix it.

If you decide to hire a mould cleaning company, you should receive a decontamination certificate and receipt that shows the service completed, when, and how.

Frequently asked questions

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

Yes, landlords must tackle mould to keep the property safe and habitable for tenants.

Is it illegal to have mould in a rental property?

Owning a rental with mould is not against the law, but letting it spread might breach health regulations.

Can I claim against my landlord for mould?

Tenants can pursue claims if landlords neglect their duty to address harmful living conditions like mould.

What is the advice for tenants about condensation and mould?

Tenants should ventilate well, manage moisture levels, and notify landlords quickly when spotting any signs of dampness or growth.

Get in touch

For mould remediation services, you can turn to ICE Cleaning for help. Our experts can be on-site the same day as your call in an emergency, providing high-quality cleaning and removal services. Upon completion, we provide our customers with a decontamination certificate for your records.

To learn more about our mould removal services, contact our team today at 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk. Our mould cleaning teams are available nationwide, 24/7, all year round. We utilise modern technology and solutions, effectively protecting your property from repeat infestations.

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