We’re two Canadians living in London, and we met out landlord through airbnb while staying there temporarily to get a feel for the city while we flat hunted. She took a job overseas and decided we could let her flat on a longer term basis. We put a deposit of £750 with no third party holding company because she told us this would save us money.
It is a former council flat. When we moved in there was some water damage on one of the walls that she was trying to get sorted with the council.
While out of town we returned and noticed the water damage looked like it was worsening. We immediately took pictures and sent them to her, and she said she would get in touch with the council. This was on Nov 28th.
A few days later we noticed small bit of mold building up near our window frame. We searched online for what to do and followed some advice that suggested giving it a good cleaning with some vinegar and water, which seemed to take care of the problem. A week later it came back with a venegence and the water damaged wall was getting worse as well. We checked out flatmates room as well and he was getting mould too. We emailed her again on the Dec11th with pictures of the water damaged wall and mentioned that there was a bunch of mold building up in our room on the window.(This is when it returned after the cleaning). She didn’t do anything and said she would deal with it when she returned Dec 19th.
When she got back she freaked out. Saying it was all our fault. Eventually after having calmed down she had a mold specialist come who claimed that it was due to poor ventilation and our room was the origin point. (She was the only person present during this specialists visit)
Our flatmate kept his windows open and the hallway bathroom window open. We opened our windows fairly frequently slept with our door open a crack, and used an oscillating tower fan when we slept every night (many times the fan was on for more than 8 hours a day). We also had the heat programmed to be on for about 8 hours a day during the coldest parts of the day.
When she handed over the property to us she made no mention of any special way that we were to keep the place ventilated however our tenancy agreement stated vaguely we were to keep it well ventilated. Which we thought we did.
She is currently holding onto both our and our flatmates deposit totalling £2750, and placing the blame solely on us. She has opted to go with the more expensive mold removal company, and wants us to pay upwards of £1200 for having the entire flat fumigated, as well as removal of the mold in the two bedrooms and the water damaged wall, plus “redecorating” which involves hiring painters to repaint the effected areas. We’re really at a loss of what to do and are flying to Canada this afternoon. She seems to be trying to squeeze us for every penny, and because we are not from the UK we’re not entirely sure what our rights are. I’ve done some research online with mixed results.
Any help in this matter is really appreciated as this is really taxing thing to deal with over the holidays.
Thanks for your time.