Damp and mould is a horrible problem causing various health problems. Is it dangerous? The NHS website says it can affect your health:
If you have damp and mould you are more likely to have respiratory problems, respiratory infections, allergies or asthma. Damp and mould can also affect the immune system.
The NHS advises that babies, children and elderly people should stay away from damp and mould. Easier said than done especially if your renting. What are your rights and what can you do?
First tell your landlord! They should certainly inspect. If you think the problem is caused by a leak or heating problems tell them so. They have a duty to repair and fix these issues under the tenancy agreement – and if they’ve caused mould, to get rid of that. If they don’t, we can help. Call or email as below. Or try Environmental Health – see below.
Your landlord might say that you are causing the problems. They might tell you to open all the windows and have the heating on 24-7! This is quite ridiculous! Of course, if you don’t heat the flat and don’t ventilate then you will probably have a problem with damp and mould.
But suppose you do use the heating, you do ventilate, use the extractor fans and don’t dry clothes on the radiators? If so, the problem is the house or flat and it needs improving so it can cope with normal life. What are your rights and what can you do?
Your landlord will have a duty to get rid of significant damp and mould in your home. It’s really important to remember that if you get rid of the mould then you get rid of the duty until the mould comes back. So, if you can, don’t reach for the Damp and Mildew Remover yet - leave the mould be! On the other hand don’t stop your landlord removing it either – that’s what they should be doing at minimum!
If you rent from a housing association or the council then seek legal advice. Council Environmental Health can’t help council tenants. Housing Associations should have solved the problem by now. Legal Aid will pay your legal fees if you are eligible (if you get any benefit you might be eligible) to investigate and for advice. You can enforce your rights using a quick and straightforward process. Email or call us - up to date photos are really helpful here. You can see how we helped one Lambeth Council tenant here: https://anthonygold.co.uk/latest/news/Guilty_Lambeth_Council_Convicted_and_Fined_at_Camberwell_Green
If you are renting privately the Council Environmental Health has a duty to help you. Tell them! Write or email and include photos of the damp and mould. Tell them it’s a Category 1 or 2 hazard under the “HHSRS” the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. Tell them that your flat is “Prejudicial to Health” due to damp and mould.
Environmental Health should inspect. If they don’t inspect complain and get legal advice from us. After the inspection they will tell you what they are going to do – they should tell the landlord to take action. If they don’t – seek legal advice. We may be able to help under the legal aid scheme or under a no-win, no fee agreement.