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mildew

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845 views 5 replies latest reply: 31 January 2014
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Tenant

Hi,

We moved into the property in August. It is a 2 bedroom flat. It was nice,clean, it was summer. Autumn arrived and every time it was raining, in the 2 bedrooms the walls became wet and later we could see mildew on it. We tried to clean it with bleach, but it doesn’t help, it is coming back… Also I had to remove our furnitures, because they were also covered with mildew. The wood shelf was new and the wood started to separate from the base… The landlord took pictures and showed to someone, and he said it is because of condensation. He asked us to keep the window open in the night!!! Can he ask such a think? We don’t want to pay more hundreds for heating!!! Anyway we kept open windows 24 hrs a day, but it is does’t help. We can’t furnish the bedrooms properly, because we don’t want to change all of our furnitures in a month time again!!! And also we pay for a 2 bedroom property, but we are not able to use them. We think the isolation is not good, the walls are wet since October. We also put 2 dehumidifyer in the bedrooms, we need to change the tablets in it every 2-3 weeks!!!! I sent a letter to the agancy with pictures and ask for advice, but NO ANSWER!!!! I sent a letter again yesterday. Shall we contact Environmental Health or ask the landlord again and again? We dont want him to get cross with us because of this situation. But I think we pay lots of money for the rent!!!! Can we ask for refund for the loss on our furnitures or because we can’t furnish the bedrooms, otherwise they are going to be covered in mildew in 2-3 weeks time? Please, help! We don’t want to move out again, we just moved in!!! Also we know it is unhealthy!!!

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Tenant

Hi there, Eva.

I’m sorry to hear this is happening to you.

First of all, condensation is a big problem in a lot of houses these days. Sometimes, there is an underlying problem with the structure of the building (meaning rain gets in and causes unnecessary water to appear). Sometimes it is just excess water vapour in the air causing it.

The average person loses about 800ml of water from their body a day. That’s 800ml on your windows and walls.

The landlord is well within his rights to ask you to open windows. This is not something he is solely responsible for.

The BEST way to deal with condensation, is to have windows open and having your heating on a constant temperature of between 15 – 20 degrees. You also need to check windows daily or twice daily and wipe water from them WHENEVER you see it. This does become expensive, but it is the only thing you can do. You could ask the landlord for reduced rent to cover the cost of your heating bill, but he is in no way obliged to help.

My partner and I live in a property that suffers from the same thing in the winter, and we just have to deal with it the best we can. Mould appears and the landlord sends someone out to kill it and paint. Nothing more than can be done other than replacing walls, and that would be expensive for the landlord and would leave you homeless for who-knows-how-long.

My advice would be to either stay and deal with it as best as you can, or leave at the end of your tenancy agreement period and specifically ask, next time you view a properly, if it has problems with condensation and mould.

I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more assistance but if you need anything else, don’t hesitate to let me know.

Good luck!

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Tenant

Hi Patricia,

I start the day at 6am to wipe dry the windows. As we are at work all day, I can’t wipe it more times daily, only in the morning and in the evening. The temperature never goes below 17-18 degrees!!!
When we moved in, everything was okay, and obviously if someone want to rent its property, won’t tell you, that it is going to be mouldy. The landlord bought the flat on summer, refurbished it and let it.
Do you say I can’t do anything, so it means I pay for a room, which can’t be furnished, because the wall is totally wet, and if I put there a bed or a wardrobe, not just the wall, but the furniture and the clothes going to be mouldy, and I can throw them away…that is sad! 🙁
I read on the Tenant’s Voice homepage, that I have got the right to live in a damp free environment. If it is true, why can’t we do nothing? We also trying for a baby, but I am not going to put my child in a mouldy bedroom for sure to get asthma or allergy!!
Also, we don’t dry clothes on radiators, we keep everything which is written in the contract!
The landlord haven’t sent anyone to kill the mould and paint the wall…..

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Tenant

Hi again, Eva.

I understand that. I wasn’t saying you are powerless, I’m just saying that mould and damp aren’t easily fixed.

Have you got the agency’s email address? It would be a good idea if you write to them and tell them that you have sent letters (hopefully you have copies for proof), and that no one has done anything. If you STILL can’t get through to them, go to the office (they HAVE TO have an office if it’s a legitimate agency), and tell them you need the mould killed and the walls painted. Explain that your personal belongings have been destroyed by a problem you weren’t made aware of upon signing your contract, and that, rather than take them to court for the cost of the items damaged, you want them to IMMEDIATELY send someone to fix it.

That, or, you can move out. Unfortunately, there are no other options.

(I meant to write most of this in my previous message…but I had just woken up…sorry.)

If you need anything else, just let me know. 😀

Best of luck!

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Tenant

Hi Eva,

Having been in the same situation I do sympathise with you. It seems as if landlords can get away with renting substandard properties by using the get-out clause of telling tenants to keep windows open even if it’s winter. It’s outrageous. Me and my partner lost half of our clothes to mildew and kept waking up feeling bunged up due to mold in the bedroom.

My suggestion if you do decide to stay in the property: Demand that your landlord pays for a proper dehumidifier (the ones that run on electricity) and ask them to pay towards your energy bills as it’ll cost money to keep the dehumidifier on. The condensation will be greatly reduced even if it doesn’t completely cure the source of the problem.

Best of luck!

Tilda

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Tenant

Yes you can do something i no because i am doing something. I have been dealing with my housing association for 1 half years i am in a complaints procedure with them but i am not giving up. The first thing i would advise you to do is this buy a humidity tester you can get them quite cheaply from amazon and a few other places they are like a small alarm clock they are around £5 . What this will do is give you the level of humidity in your room which i believe should not be below 30 or above the 60 level. If you are keeping the humidity levels low and you are still getting mould then there could be another factor that needs to be investigated. If you are on the ground floor as i am i would also advise getting a moisture detector these machines are used by builders etc they have the expencive ones which are over 80 pounds however i have one which was only £20. What you can do with this is find out the levels of moisture in the wall start from low to middle and see what levels mine has a chart on the back. I have had 3 surveyors out from my housing thats why i got these so they could no longer say it was my fault. I do keep my windows open and heating on low and i do keep the humidity levels down as low as i can but however when it rains those levels do go up higher the environmental health says this is something to do with the ambient level. I have done all of this and i am still getting damp back the last surveyor said there is a problem i am still waiting to find out what they are going to do with it as is the housing ombudsman. You can contact the environmental health but the first thing she will check is if the humidity levels are high and are you doing all you can to keep them low. I to have argued that is is a false economy to keep the windows open and heating on low but to no effect. If you get the environmental health involved and they do see in your favour however there are downsides to your situation he can say he is unwilling to do it or cant afford and evict ( however can just throw you out takes time unusually section 21?) or he can do he repairs advised but may choose to put the rent up.
There is no easy situation but everyone should have a safe healthy environment to live in.

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