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Damp/Mould in a rented house

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
Hi guys,

I’m new here and just have a question regarding the flat I am renting.

I am renting a one bedroom flat which is actually just the downstairs of a converted house and we have a huge problem with mould/damp in the bedroom. The problem is confined to the only external wall in the room.

The landlord has arranged for a builder to come round to check if it was damp and see what could be done. The builder said that it was not damp but simply mould due to there being too much moisture in the air. Due to the lack of air flow and the temperature in the room being too low.

Now we can’t do anything about the temperature of the room being too low because our boiler does not have a timer and having the heating on all day whilst we are in work would be impractical and expensive.

The landlord has since come round with a dehumidifier and this certainly seems to be taking alot of moisture out of the air.

However the dehumidifier has to be on for up to 12 hours a day to make a real difference and this is also going to cost us a fortune on our electric bill.

My question is, legally who should pay for the bill?

We currently pay the bills aswell as our rent but surely we are paying that for a liveable house, if the house is damp then it’s the land lord’s job to fix it?! If there is going to be a constant charge to fix the house why should we have to pay?!

Anyway thanks for taking the time to read this and any help you could give would be great.


  • PearlyPearly Posts: 345 The Mix Regular

    This is a tricky one - no doubt if you had seen the mould/damp before you moved in then you probably wouldn't have agreed to rent it. If you aren't convinced that it isn't damp then it may be worth getting a second opinion, and from a damp specialist rather than just a builder (you don't know if this 'builder' was legit if it's your landlord trying to be sneaky to avoid a big replastering bill).

    Once you've found that out, then the next thing you could do is ask your landlord whether he can get a few quotes to fix the problem - this could involve replastering and painting, but if it is damp and it's going to affect your health (do you have asthma?) then it may be in his interest to solve the problem.

    I'd get yourself a bit more info about the state of the house from an impartial source then go back to him with some options to choose from - perhaps a) that he pays towards the electricity bill b) he gets the walls replasted?


    This link above says "A dehumidifier is expensive to run and will not solve the problem if the damp is caused by condensation. You will not reduce condensation dampness unless you take steps to balance the level of moisture, heat and ventilation in your home"

    Here is some more info on your rights from Shelter...

    Repairs and bad conditions

    More info from Shelter:

    What about dampness?
    It isn't always easy to work out who is responsible for sorting out problems with dampness, because it's often difficult to identify the cause. But landlords are usually responsible if the dampness is the result of:

    leaking pipes
    a structural defect (such as a leaking roof)
    an existing damp proof course that is no longer working (if there wasn't one to begin with, your landlord does not have to put one in)
    Some dampness is a result of condensation caused by lack of ventilation, lack of insulation, and/or inadequate heating. Check your tenancy agreement - it may say that your landlord has to fix the problem. If you rent your home from a housing association, the council's environmental health department may be able to help you. But sometimes, due to the design of the building, there may be little that you can do.

    Bear in mind that dampness can also be caused by condensation produced by drying clothes indoors or the heating system not being used effectively. If this is the case, your landlord may not be liable. It can be difficult to work out who is responsible. Contact an adviser for help.

    Hope it's sorted soon. If you have any more questions then askTheSite and a Shelter advisor will get back to you,

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks for you quick reply.

    Yeah the house was in the middle of being converted when we agreed to it so everything was brand spanking new when we agreed to move in.

    In fairness i think the landlord did get in a damp expert and I am reasonably happy that it is mould due to moisture.

    I just dont know first of all weather the dehumidifier will work effectivly and secondly if its right that we have to pay for it.

    Yes I do have asthma so I would like to get it sorted asap really!
  • PearlyPearly Posts: 345 The Mix Regular
    Well if he's got the dehumidifier because of condensation (which I presume is the same as too much moisture in the air?) and not dampness, then it says above it may not be likely to work. Try and get this confirmed then I think your best bet is to give him a list of options to get it fixed and find out what your rights are on your contract and whether he is liable first. If he is, then he will have to get it sorted. If he's not liable, then it's in his interest to sort it because he will struggle to rent it out with big mouldy bits in the bedroom unless he takes a lot less money a month!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Mold is dangerous!

    Hi Chris, mold is really dangerous. You can buy home mold test kits. They help you identify if there is mold in your house. You can also actually smell mold. Another thing to keep in mind is that mold is mostly found in rooms with high level of humidity, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Other than buying mold test kits, there are certified mold inspectors out there (believe it or not:)), so those guys can help. If he or she tells you there is mold, you can hire a mold restoration team to help you find it. When I lived in South San Francisco, I ran into this problem. There are many companies to choose from, but some don't have a license and insurance. So if they do something to your house and they don't have an insurance, you will be in trouble. I found a restoration company via BBB. Back then they were good. I don't know anything about them now since I moved to NJ. Hope that helps.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi miami99 - this thread is from 2008 so it's likely the original poster has since moved on from this issue. Worth watching out for dates before you post ;) Also, this site is run by a UK charity so the majority of people here are in the UK.. you're welcome to stick around but just worth being aware of that when you're linking to other sites. Cheers :thumb:
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