When damp or mould is present in a home or commercial property, it can cause significant respiratory issues such as infections, asthma, and allergies. Your immune system can also be compromised, leaving you susceptible to other illnesses. Damp and mould are caused by moisture, which can be caused by rain seeping in due to structural damage and leaking pipes. If you occupy a rented property and notice damp or mould, you could refer to Section 4 of the Defective Premises Act 1972 to make a claim.
Here at Van Eaton Solicitors in Streatham Hill, we have years of experience in helping landlords and tenants alike settle claims under the Defective Premises Act. Landlords have a duty of care to their tenants to ensure their safety, and if a property is uninhabitable, it can be a severe cause for concern. If you notice damp or mould in your property, there are steps you can take to make a successful claim if your landlord fails to address the issue…
Types of Damp
Unfortunately, damp is a common occurrence in rented properties, both in homes and commercial properties. A familiar variation of damp seen in properties is rising damp, where moisture travels from the ground to a height of around one meter within the property. Penetrating damp occurs when moisture makes its way into the property from the outside to the inside, which is usually caused by a leaking pipe.
If a property cannot cope with large amounts of water vapour because of a lack of amenities such as ventilation or insulation, condensation damp can occur. If the property was designed without due care and attention, this is known as construction damp, which may become a construction law dispute.
Who is Responsible?
In cases of rising, penetrating and condensation damp, your landlord will usually be responsible for any repairs that need making to stop the damp and mould from spreading. The is usually a term stated in your tenancy agreement that your landlord has a responsibility to keep the interiors and exteriors of the property in a good state of repair. Your landlord may also be responsible if you or your family have been made ill because of damp or mould.
Landlords are usually responsible for fixing an issue if they were made aware of it beforehand. For instance, if you informed your landlord of the issue or their routine checks should have made the damp or mould noticeable to them, then action should be taken. With construction damp, if the design issue does not affect the structure or exterior of your home, liability may not lie with your landlord. However, your landlord is responsible for repairs if the design issue causes damage to the building. If your behaviour, as a tenant, causes damp or mould to occur, then you could be liable, and your landlord may be reluctant to fix the issue.
If you find yourself involved in a commercial property dispute with your landlord, our commercial litigation solicitors are here to help. To find out more about our services, please visit us on our website here.
Action You Can Take: Legal Proceedings and the Defective Premises Act
The first step you should take when you discover damp or mould is to report it to your landlord. The issue could be resolved easily, but if they refuse to act, there are steps you can take. You could contact Environmental Health if the damp or mould is affecting your health. This is known as a ‘statutory nuisance’ and your local authority could force your landlord to deal with the problem. However, if your landlord is responsible for dealing with the issue but they refuse to do so, you could take legal action against them. If you seek help from a qualified litigation solicitor, you could even avoid the costly, time-consuming trip to court.
Here at Van Eaton Solicitors in Streatham, we have vast knowledge and experience concerning damp, mould, landlord and tenant disputes and the Defective Premises Act. To find out more or to book a free consultation, please give us a call on 0208 769 6739. Alternatively, you can fill out our online form here.