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damp and mould

How to effectively manage damp and mould as a landlord?

With the onset of winter and an elevated risk of mould, the effective management of damp in both social and private rental housing is increasingly crucial for landlords.

Recent government findings revealed that 69% of privately rented properties experience damp and mould problems. To address this issue, the government released guidance earlier this year for private landlords, emphasising the importance of collaboration with tenants and making reasonable adjustments rather than attributing the problem to ‘lifestyle choices.’

Landlords and letting agents must adhere to government guidance, which outlines five standards to remain compliant with their damp and mould obligations:

  1. Hazard-free homes: The Housing Act 2004 mandates that properties should be free from Category 1 hazards, including damp and mould.
  2. Conditions “Prejudicial to Health”: Damp and mould can be considered a “statutory nuisance” under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, leading to legal action if it harms a tenant’s health.
  3. Properties need to be suitable for living in: Under the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, properties must be free from serious damp and mould that can adversely affect a tenant’s health.
  4. Meeting the Decent Homes Standard: Social housing and, soon, private rented homes should meet the Decent Homes Standard, ensuring they are free from Category 1 hazards and in a reasonable state of repair.
  5. Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards: While not explicitly covering damp and mould, good energy efficiency can reduce condensation risk, and properties must meet Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards.

Responding to Tenant Reports:

  • Respond sensitively to tenant reports, assessing the seriousness of the issues.
  • Promptly address underlying problems, especially if linked to health concerns.
  • Keep tenants informed about steps taken and timeframes.
  • Document and remove mould with professional assistance if necessary.
  • Inspect the property at least six weeks after fixing the issue to ensure it doesn’t reoccur.

Reducing the Risk of Damp and Mould:

  • Update processes to document, manage, and act on reports.
  • Regularly check property conditions to identify and address risks.
  • Provide support to tenants facing energy efficiency challenges.
  • Collaborate with health and social care professionals to identify health risks.
  • Ensure staff and contractors understand the importance of addressing damp and mould.
  • Encourage tenants to report concerns promptly.

Common Causes of Damp and Mould:

  • Windows that don’t open or are restricted for safety.
  • Poor insulation, ventilation, or heating systems.
  • Homes lacking proper maintenance.
  • Overcrowding or inadequate damp proof courses.

The information in this post is valid to the best of our knowledge on the date of posting. It is advised that you seek independent advice based on your individual circumstances.

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