I was recently instructed by residents of a block of flat in the London Borough of Lewisham whose homes were damp and mouldy. They had been complaining about the damp and mould for years. Even though they complained, children’s asthma was worsened by the mould, their clothes and possessions were damaged, their landlord Lewisham Homes was not interested.
They described the “disgusting black mould”. If they were lucky their landlord “did damp wash but it came back”; if they were not the landlords “didn’t do anything. Said it was my responsibility to deal with”
They described that “Every year the Same” with the damp and mould returning. They said was “very, very bad for our health” and that it was “Getting Worse”. They were “Tired of complaining” and quite unable to deal with the problems themselves - “Nothing works”.
Landlords often fob of tenants about damp and mould issues and blame tenants. Sometimes it is down to the tenants but often it is not. I discuss damp and mould and their causes in detail here - http://anthonygold.co.uk/latest/legal-insight/my-flat-is-damp-my-house-is-mouldy-my-landlord-wont-fix-anything-2
Serious damp and mould is bad for your health. It is often due to a repair issue or the design of the flat. If so, the landlord probably has an obligation to solve the problem under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This was the case for my clients.
I instructed an experienced Environmental Health Consultant who visited a number of flats in the block. Each of the flats had design problems which were the cause of the damp and mould – including inadequate insulation and ventilation. It was possible to solve the problems.
I served notices on the landlord under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This gave the landlord a 21 day warning period to get rid of the damp and mould. Breach of the notice entitles the tenant to start a criminal prosecution in the Magistrates Court who can order works and compensation.
Unsurprisingly after being served with the notice the Council rushed round and re-decorated the flats, carrying out a decent anti-mould treatment – all within 21 days. The damp and mould is gone and my clients have freshly decorated flats. They got a fast and effective result to solve the problem.
If you are on benefit or low income Legal Aid is still available to fund cases a tenant or resident needs repairs to their home, although it is restricted to cases where the work is needed to avoid a risk of serious harm to health. Since serious damp and mould is very bad for your health (it is linked to asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis) legal aid will probably be available for investigating the case and serving the notice.
If you are not eligible for Legal Aid, the legal procedure of serving a warning notice described above represents a fast, effective and cheap solution to a major problem. Since we are specialist in this areas we are able to keep our fees as low as possible.
Legal Aid is not available for the Criminal prosecution. However Anthony Gold Solicitors do take these cases on a “No-Win, No-Fee” basis.
Hopefully we can help…