Who Is Responsible For Mould In A Rental Property?

Friday 31st March 2023

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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Mould growing on a wall CONTENTS

When mould starts growing in a rental property, it can be difficult to know whether it’s up to the tenant or landlord to have it removed. The landlord must have it cleaned if it is affecting the tenant’s health, but depending on who is responsible for it, the tenant may be charged for remediation.  

If the mould was caused by something the landlord should have fixed or repaired, it is their responsibility. Or, if the tenant could have prevented the mould, they are responsible.

At ICE Cleaning, we provide effective and thorough mould remediation services. Our Dewpoint-accredited technicians can get rid of all of the spores from the air and the surfaces, and advise on how to keep your property mould-free.

Read on to find out what you must do should you find mould in your property.

What causes mould?

Mould is caused by excess moisture, such as humidity and damp. It usually grows in the winter due to poor ventilation, the wetter weather, and colder temperatures but it can appear in your property any time of the year.

Penetrating damp

This is when moisture penetrates into the structure of a property. It is usually caused by things like leaky guttering, plumbing leaks, and missing roof tiles.

As this is typically not caused by the tenant and should be fixed by the landlord, they are responsible for having any mould that it causes removed. In some cases, the tenant may have caused it, such as putting a nail in a wall which damages a pipe, in which case they would be responsible.

Rising damp

When ground moisture works it way up through the brickwork and walls of a property, it can cause damp. Most properties have a damp proof course (DPC) which acts as a barrier to this moisture.

If there is an issue with the DPC, the landlord is responsible for having the mould cleaned as it is a repair that needs to be fixed. Should the tenant have broken the DPC, it is up to them to have it removed.

Condensation

When moist, warm air makes contact with a cold surface like a window, water vapour condenses and forms water droplets. It can usually be found on windowsills, tiles, and walls in bathrooms and kitchens, for example.  

Most of the time it is caused by the tenant’s lifestyle, such as cooking and showering, or not using the ventilation and heating systems properly. So, if the mould was caused by this, it is their responsibility to pay for repairs and remediation.

However, it could be caused by poor insulation or faulty heating and ventilation, which would make it the responsibility of the landlord.

You can find out more about the different types of damp and how to spot the signs of it in your property here.

What are your rights as a tenant?

There are lots of different laws relating to damp and mould in a rented property, such as:

  • Landlord and Tenant Act 1985: the landlord must resolve structural issues that can lead to mould.
  • Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018: tenants can apply to the court if they think the property is unfit for human habitation, which includes ventilation and damp.

What tenants should do when they find mould in the property

As soon as you spot any mould in the rented house, you need to notify your landlord. Mould can cause allergic reactions, such as sneezing, coughing, and skin rashes as well as more serious respiratory problems. You can find out more about how to report it to your landlord here.

Your landlord will then schedule an inspection to see the extent of the mould and then diagnose the cause. They will then have the mould remediated and fix what is causing it to stop it coming back.

Don’t attempt mould removal yourself

When you clean mould, you put yourself in much closer contact with it and are more likely to inhale, ingest, or touch the spores which could put your health at risk. You also might release spores up into the air when you scrub or wipe it which you might inhale.

It is likely you will not eliminate all the mould without specialist products and equipment, either, so it may grow back soon after you have cleaned it.

Landlords should bring in professional cleaners to quickly remove all traces of the spores in the property and make it a safe, clean place to live, again.

How to prevent mould

Although some causes may be out of your control as a tenant, such as rising or penetrating damp, there are lots of things you can do to prevent mould:

  • Keep humidity levels in your property below 50%
  • Ensure your property is well ventilated by using exhaust and extractor fans when cooking or using the bathroom, and regularly opening windows
  • Report any leaks you spot to your landlord immediately
  • Shut doors to the kitchen and bathroom when using them so steam does not escape and cause mould elsewhere
  • Don’t dry your clothes indoors or the evaporating moisture could settle on the ceilings and walls

Contact us today

Our technicians can provide our mould removal services nationwide, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can be on site in a matter of hours in an emergency, and have lots of experience dealing with damp and mould in private rented property.

Get in touch with our team on 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk for a free site survey and no-obligation quote. You can find out more about what to do if there is mould or damp in your rental property here.

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