My Tenants Painted Over Mould- Guide to Treating Mould

Tenants Painted Over Mould

Yup, my knuckle-head tenants (bless their silly cotton socks) – went and did “it”!

They never bothered to notify me, their landlord, of a mould outbreak, and decided to take matters into their own hands by applying the least effective means of treating mould on the planet (presumably thinking it was a smart (and safe) idea).

If you’re considering painting directly over mould as a form of treatment… PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON’T DO IT!

Dumb & Dumber discuss mould

The tale of two idiots painting over mould

Seems like many blue Moons ago now, but it was only a month or so ago, when I was shaking my fists in the air having witnessed the horrific conditions my tenants chose to live in.

During my hissyfit, I briefly mentioned that the pair of numpties had obviously painted over mould in the bathroom, days before vacating the property, presumably as a futile attempt to mask the problem.

Evidently, my tenants didn’t do a very good job because I spotted the ploy almost immediately. The Chuckle Brothers only painted over the areas that were infested with mould, while leaving the rest of the walls untouched, consequently I was left with walls covered in 2 very different shades of white. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to work out something wasn’t quite right.

I’m actually not sure if they tried to mask the problem so I wouldn’t notice or because they thought the paint would kill the mould. Either way, there was no need to question their intelligence because it was clear they had a very limited supply between them. I was, however, left questioning their sanity. I probably had a moral obligation to report them to some kind of institute for dumb assholes.

I’m also not sure whose brainchild it was to limit the paint to the areas saturated in mould, but they should both equally be punished, in this life or the next, because while one was committing the dumbest act of the century, the other allowed it to happen.

Mould doesn’t just miraculously cover large surface areas overnight; it enrolls onto a learning & development program and slowly blossoms. And much like an infected penis, you need to nip the problem in the bud as soon as possible, otherwise things turn green and shit starts to flake off. Nasty stuff.

What many people don’t realise is that mould is a type of fungus, which can cause serious health risks, so it needs to be treated properly, and preferably not covered up with a lick of paint. What they did was actually extremely dangerous/stupid. Not to mention, mould will slice through fresh paint like a knife cutting through warm butter.

The infestation wasn’t exactly inconspicuous; it had reached the dark black/brown stage. Meanwhile, my tenants managed to blissfully turn a blind eye to the prominent shit-coloured stains splattered all over the white walls and carry on living their ghastly unsanitary day-to-day lives. Lovely.

It’s mostly frustrating because I provided them with a clean property, and the bathroom specifically had an extractor fan (which I’m assuming they never used because it had an isolated switch which wasn’t connected to the light switch) and it didn’t have any history of mould from previous tenants. Moreover, if they had the sense and courtesy to report the problem, I would have attended to the issue immediately. But for some obscure and unknown reason, they felt compelled to remain mute and revel in the filth. Perhaps that’s their fetish, to live in challenging environments that could ultimately cause ill health.

Alas, these people are just filthy bastards by nature, and probably dig into their underwear when requiring cheese to assist their crackers.

The reason I’m going over this hideous incident again is because I want to cover the topic of mould in greater depth since it is a big issue in rented property. But also, I was frantically Googling for specific resources on “how to remove mould from under fresh paint” with very little luck. There were, however, plenty of resources available on how to remove mould from the surface. But that was no good to me.

Incidentally, apparently the best way is to scrub it off with regular household bleach. But bear in mind, that may not prevent it from occurring again. You need to find the root of the problem and destroy it. Of course, the root of the problem could just be mentally retarded tenants that don’t like upholding basic human hygiene standards.

I hadn’t had much experience with mould in the past, but I could tell that the infestation in the bathroom wasn’t extreme and didn’t require professional help. The only assistance I received was from the comments I read in various forums. I managed to bastardise several tips and produce my own cure (nothing revolutionary, mind you)…

My experience: how I removed mould that was painted over!

1) Diagnose

The first thing I did was scrape off a small area of the top coat of paint so I could get a closer look and diagnose the diarrhea stains that were gobbling up the walls. I had to be sure it was mould before treating it with anti-mould remedies.

Fortunately, in my case, it was pretty obvious I was dealing with mould… because it looked all moudly and stuff. Good technical diagnosis from me there.

Apparently mould commonly gets confused with dirt (really?). I read that the best way to distinguish between mould and dirt is to apply bleach to the area. If the brown stains lighten then it’s most likely mould, because bleach won’t change the colour of dirt. I’m not sure how true that is, but it seemed to be the general consensus among the forum contributors. Either way, I bypassed the bleach test, I just went with my unqualified gut-instinct and my lifetime experience of never dealing with mould. But come on, mould looks like mould! It was definitely mould!

Annoyingly, I forgot to take a ‘before picture’, so I can’t show you the ridiculous state the walls were left by my rat-weasel tenants, so you’ll have to use your imagination. Just imagine bathroom walls sporadically covered in two different shades of white, kind of like a patchwork quilt effect. Now picture me, an unbelievably handsome chap, which has enough sexual prowess to rival a Silverback gorilla, standing there naked, pointing into the suspect areas that had been freshly painted. In reality, I wouldn’t need to be standing there naked, pointing out the mismatching tones, because it was clear as day, but I’m just there for your pleasure.

2) Cleaning the surface

The aim at this stage was to clean the surface from dirt and rub away as much of the fresh emulsion as possible. I wiped the area down with warm soap water. Surprisingly, the newest layer of paint came off effortlessly. Believe it or not, but mould isn’t the most effective adhesive primer. Go figure.

Having rubbed off the majority of the top coat of paint, it soon became clear what I was dealing with. This is what my tenants had painted over:

Ceiling Mould

Allow me to reiterate: they lived with that infestation starring them square in the face, every damn day. The irony is, that’s in the corner of the bathroom; a room dedicated to control and maintain human hygiene. My tenant, the unsterile buffoon, cleaned his penis and other unsavoury body parts with that looking at him in the face. How can he live with himself? Shameful.

3) Stripping the paint

Now that I had exposed the mould to the surface, I could have started scrubbing the area with bleach, and that’s exactly what most people advised in the forums. But I wanted to be more thorough than that, and I’ll explain why…

The dangerous (and envious) quality about mould is that it can fuck with itself. It doesn’t need a partner to reproduce, so a single survivor can rebuild a city. Moreover, mould can get into and under the paint, so even if I scrub and kill the mould on the surface, it wouldn’t necessarily resolve the problem because the infestation could be rooted deeper.

Ensuring that I was removing all the mould was my main objective; the last thing I wanted was to receive a phone call a few months down the line from my new tenants telling me there’s a mould outbreak, and consequently their vital organs were in the process of shutting down one-by-one. I don’t think I would be mentally strong enough to deal with that!

So this step was all about sparing my sanity by stripping off the old paint, down to the bone. This would allow me to check if the mould managed to penetrate down to the walls or under the paint. But more importantly, it would ensure the mould was being physically removed from the wall, and not just killed with a liquid solution.

Scraping off the paint with a handheld scraper would have taken a lifetime, and I would have most likely damaged my sanity and the walls by taking out huge chunks of plaster due to frustration and fatigue. Instead, I went to B&Q and purchased two bottles of paint remover. If my memory serves me correctly, it set me back £7.

Mould paint stripper

I poured the solution into a paint tray and applied it very generously over the infected areas. I let it settle for 30mins so it could eat away at the paint and transform into a gooey paste. At this point, it was surprisingly easy to lightly scrape/rub off the old paint; it was like tender meat falling off a bone. I didn’t strip the entire bathroom, only the areas that had been covered in mould and a bit more (to be safe).

Below is a picture of the end result. It was a relatively painless experience, even though it probably looks labour intensive.

Stripped walls

Stripped walls

Now that I’ve proved I can be heroic and masculine, let’s move on…

As you can see, the mould hadn’t penetrated the walls, it only managed to attack the paint, which was a massive relief.

4) Wiping down

Having stripped off all the paint, I then aggressively wiped down the areas with a wet sponge. This played two important roles; firstly, it removed the remains of the gooey residue that had formed, but most importantly, it removed the paint stripper solution from the wall. That’s crucial, otherwise I would have had a soul-destroying episode trying to reapply paint on top of paint-stripper. It would not have worked, you know, kind of like painting over freaking mould.

5) Anti-mould solution

At this stage, the walls looked mould free. But I wanted to be extra cautious, so I purchased a bottle of Polycell Mould Remover Spray (approx £10.00) from my local DIY joint, and then generously sprayed it in and around the – hopefully – former infected areas.

Polycell Mould Remover Spray

There are plenty of mould solutions available, so pick your poison. Word of caution, make sure to get a mould “killer/remover” if you want to remove mould, and not just a mould stain remover.

Polycell Mould Remover Spray seemed to work for me (I think anyways), so make of that what you will. It’s widely available from local supermarkets and DIY stores, but it’s also from online retailers. Obvs it’s available on Amazon (affiliate link).

6) Anti-mould paint

Two days later I examined the area; the walls were stripped down, there wasn’t any sign of mould, and the walls were dry. The area had completely recovered and was ready for a new coat of paint.

In the past I’ve always used the same regular emulsion to paint every room in a property, but after this experience (my first experience with mould), I decided to pay the premium price for anti-mould emulsion. It’s more expensive than regular emulsion, but if you calculate the amount of time and money it could save you from combating against mould, it’s a no-brainer. I’m going to apply anti-mould emulsion in all bathrooms and kitchens I paint from now on.

Anti-mould paint

For those curious, this is what the bathroom looks like now it’s been disinfected from my previous tenants funk…


The severity of mould infestations vary drastically, so I can’t guarantee my solution will work for every case. In fact, I know it won’t. But it worked for me. Here’s a website which covers a whole array of easy-to-follow home remedies for removing lighter cases of mould in the home.

If you’re struggling or feel like you’re out of your depth, it’s imperative you seek professional help immediately.

How to prevent mould in rental properties (because prevention is cure)

It goes without saying that the best way to cure mould is to prevent it from developing in the first place.

If a landlord provides a tenant with a structurally sound, clean and mould free property, then they’re at the mercy of the tenant, and it’s up to them to act responsibly and prevent mould and dampness from occurring. However, there are a few steps landlords can take to reduce the chances of an outbreak (I now adhere to most of the following steps in all my rentals):

  • First and foremost (and most crucially), avoiding filthy and utterly stupid tenants is key. This can be done by thorough tenant referencing e.g. get references from previous landlords.

    I also recommend 6 month tenancy agreements (the minimum amount allowed) and then allowing it to roll onto a periodic tenancy, so if there is any negligence from the tenant, you have the ability to take any necessary actions ASAP.

  • Use mold resistant products like the anti-mould paint, especially in high-risk areas like kitchens and bathrooms.

    Alternatively, I recently came across an Anti-Mould Additive on Amazon (affiliate link), which looks like a pretty cool solution. To be honest, I probably would have used this over the anti-mould paint if I knew about it sooner.

    You basically mix the solution into any ol’ regular paint and it apparently prevents mould and the recurrence of it. It’s cheaper than off-the-shelf anti-mould paint (but does the same thing) and lasts for at least 5 years.

    (if anyone tries this solution, please let me know how you get on!)

  • Install an extractor fan in the bathroom which activates when the bathroom light is switched on. Also, an extractor fan in the kitchen, above the cooker.
  • Allow extractor fans to overrun for 20mins once they’re switched off. This is a common feature in most modern extractors.
  • Ensure gutters get cleaned and serviced regularly, especially if the property is close to tall trees.
  • Don’t provide the property with any indoor plants. The moist soil in indoor plants is a perfect breeding ground for mould, which may then spread to other areas of the house.
  • Check that there are no leaks in the property before, during and after each let. Goes without saying regular landlord inspections are crucial to help keep your property in order.
  • Even if you see the slightest sign of mould, remove it immediately, and ensure every last speckle is terminated. Many people make the mistake of leaving traces of mould behind, and then wonder why it keeps resurfacing. If you don’t kill/remove it ALL, mould spores will just continue to grow/spread.
  • Don’t rent out a property that is infested with mould- cure the problem first! I’m not sure how tried and tested it is, but if a tenant becomes ill due to the landlord’s negligence, it could end up costly.
  • If the property is naturally warm and damp for whatever reason, you could provide the property with a humidifier.
  • Tiles are a lot more resistant to mould than plasterboard/walls, so it seems to be the safer option in comparison to paint. Although, grouting seems to extract mould pretty easily, but at least that’s easier to clean than paint- you can also get anti-mould grout!
  • A costly option is to install a PIV loft unit (e.g. Environment or Nuaire Drimaster). It constantly pushes dry air from the loft into the house, raising the pressure slightly and forcing out the damp air so that the humidity is reduced to a level where mould doesn’t form. It might be a step worth taking if your property severely struggles with dampness.

Who’s responsible for mould, landlord or tenant?

In most cases, when mould is discovered in a rented property, both landlord and tenant frantically try to determine who is responsible, while pointing at one another.

It can be a difficult question to answer and it usually depends on what is causing the problem. For more information, you may want to head over to the Who Is Responsible For Mould- Tenant Or Landlord? blog post.

But ultimately, finding the cause and treating it is what’s most important. If a tenant complains about dampness or mould, don’t just play the blame game and leave it unresolved. Try to work together in order to resolve the problem quickly and efficiently, even if that means spending a little bit of money.

Has anyone else had any experience with mould? Can anyone provide any further tips? Let’s go…

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Showing 73 - 123 comments (out of 123)
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Yvonne 10th June, 2015 @ 11:55

All I can say is that I have had such a good laugh of the comments left on this site, glad to see so many people with a sense of humour.

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audrey 21st June, 2015 @ 09:09

I bought a property about 7 years ago to rent out. looked great then discovered the walls had been lined with some kind of polystyrene lining under woodchip - then the mould came. I think I've spent about 2 years sorting it. this involved new air vents, new windows and bigger double radiators. I think making a warmer environment was the key and 1950s house construction isn't so good, the walls get quite cold. so not all landlords are rubbish, I do care and it has been very expensive solving the problem though I'll never be able to solve the basic house construction I've done what I can, insulating the loft, providing more heat and more ventilation.

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Marilyn Taylor 20th July, 2015 @ 12:44

I agree with Stella all the way what a thoroughly unscrupulous Landlord. I rented in London for 33years and I had real bum Landlords who wouldn't spend a penny. My flat had high ceilings and large windows and was an extremely light and sunny flat. I never experienced any mould whatsoever. The Landlords always complemented me on any clean the flat was. I now live in my own flat which is in a private development architecturally awarded but I am experiencing black mould problems.If I put a roast in the oven and dry any clothes in the kitchen all hell lets loose and even with windows open in cold weather I am all steamed up as kitchen at end of sitting room. So behind the bookcase on an outside wall in the sitting room goes black hence me on this website. The tenants may not have known how to deal with this and did their best to try and rectify the problem ie paint. to insult them in this fashion is just crass. You should be checking up with your tenants to see if they have any problems and then you rectify them or is it all money money money to you spare a thought for your tenants and advise them if you know better. Just sort the problem out for them and let them live in peace.

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Ade 13th August, 2015 @ 18:36

In this case, it is our landlord who painted over mould.

We are moving soon, but I'm still concerned about the health risk in the meantime.

They had problems with rising damp before (the foundation was not properly insulated, there are structural issues and it was built in a period where the mantra was "cheap and fast"). They treated it by drilling holes through the walls. The walls are clearly wet and the plaster is pealing off. Rust next to the light switches due to the walls being so wet.

If I am not allowed to breathe, shower or cook, then the property is not fit for the purpose for which it was let.

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Ade 15th August, 2015 @ 20:55

PS We put up a washing line outside when we moved in (the property had none). My washing machine and tumble drier are both outside (sheltered, obviously).

We NEVER dry clothes on a heater of any kind. We open windows / door and we do heat in winter. The air isn't humid. We actually keep water (to drink) next to our bed at night because the air is so dry.

Extractor fans are probably a good idea, but that is something the landlord is responsible for. No houses in this climate have extractor fans. Some houses next to the coast have them, but that is hundreds of kilometers away.

We DO shower and cook (obviously). Ironically the damp issues are in the sitting and bedrooms. The kithen and bathroom are tiled. Although those walls are extremely wet too. You can see from the cracks and tge plaster coming off on the outside.

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Maureen Osborne 21st August, 2015 @ 14:31

Mould is a big problem. I had this awful thing in my previous apartment. It was a nightmare. This anti-mould paint helped a little. I hope you never have this problem. Best regards!

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TERRY 23rd August, 2015 @ 08:35

Landlord sounds like a total buy-to-let merchant actively assisting inflationary rents

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CLAYTON 2nd January, 2016 @ 11:31

It's nearly always condensation and it's always worse in the bedroom because you're in there all night breathing out moisture.

If you have mould in the bedroom, wipe it off with bleach and buy a big dehumidifier and run it all day. ALL DAY EVERY DAY!

It's not easy to leave a window open all day and night to vent the moisture.

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John Bull 9th January, 2016 @ 20:33

Painted over mould? You have my sympathy.

The lesson to be learnt though, you appear to have missed. You yourself are not being professional or competent as a landlord (sorry):

An overflowing gutter may be the tenants' job to clear, but they usually won't even be aware of the overflow. So either you give them notice to get it done and then go ahead and have it cleared and charge them, or you get a ladder out and just do it yourself on the grounds that it protects your property and the quality of the neighbourhood.

Also, since we landlords are all bad people ;) , we have to make our houses beyond criticism, so why not install a fan controlled by a humistat that automatically comes on as required? My own let house has a fan that comes on with the light with a 15 minute over-run (a requirement if the WC is in a room with no openable window).

In my own property, the bathroom once began to develop mould which brought it to my attention that the fan shutter had broken and so the fan was not working. This sort of thing is something you only notice if you visit the property every three months at most to carry out basic maintenance and check on the building. This also gives you an opportunity to bring matters to tenants' attention.

Don't ask tenants permission to visit (though they can legally refuse you entry anyway). Serve them formal written notice (ideally by recorded delivery) of your intention to visit on such and such a day, and turn up with the keys on the day agreed (knock first). Then you're setting the rules. This doesn't mean being arrogant, but you can't base your visits on the best possible time for the tenants who may not want to get up before 10.30 etc etc - just a time that isn't totally unreasonable.

I would expect tenants to mess up a job such as decorating which is why I do not usually allow tenants to redecorate, but the place is maintained. If the tenants see the main reason you visit is to look after the property they too are likely to have more respect for it. My tenants know if they call me with a house problem someone will be there to have a look at the problem that very day if necessary.

You really need to start seeing being a landlord as a job (even if it is only part-time) and being more professional about it. The house has to be kept to the correct standard, and if the tenants won't do it, you give them notice that you will arrange to do it/have it done and pass on the associated costs. Even with rubbish tenants, your side of the bargain (maintenance) has to be upheld.

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John Bull 9th January, 2016 @ 20:46

Also, I would like to contradict the general rule about opening bathroom windows.

Opening them for a limited time after a shower is a good thing. If the bathroom is kept warm then condensation at shower time is kept to a minimum and the room can be vented for 20 minutes after the shower itself.

Opening them before a shower (i.e. keeping the windows open) is a bad thing - it chills the walls and then the vapour caused by the shower immediately condenses on the walls. In the British climate, these are unlikely to dry out properly until June.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 9th January, 2016 @ 20:49

I did learn from my lesson though, as stated in the "prevention is cure" section- I now adhere to a bunch of extra mould prevention techniques that I never previously did, including a 20min overrun of the extractor fan (which is controlled by the light switch) and anti-mould paint etc.

Thanks for your comment :)

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Jules 30th January, 2016 @ 17:00

A very interesting article. The comments also. We can all agree there are some awful landlords out there and tenants that shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a decent dwelling.

My experience is with a council as my landlord. I've lived in my house for over 20 years and have had to fight the council every step of the way for everything. I could fill a book with the exploits of this bunch. I believe i'm a model tenant. Pay my rent on time, look after the external side of the property and take enormous pride of the inside. Sadly, i'm on my own in this. The house is a great large 3 bedroomed property built in the 70's and the plumbing not replaced in that time till last year. I had complained on 14 separate occasions about the mould issues. I followed all the advice i could find in relation to my responsibilities as a good tenant. I knew there was an issue but despite my efforts the council fobbed me off and they did nothing. I suggested it could be coming from the loft or maybe a leaky roof. I can't access this area myself unfortunately. They ignored me. I went on holiday and the upstairs ceiling collapsed and the water from the leaky old water tank poured into the house for days. My daughter came round by chance to sort out the mail and was confronted by something from a scene from a disaster movie. I won't carry on moaning but will say to everyone to not just clean the mould. Make sure there isn't a more serious reason for the issues.

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Jess 4th February, 2016 @ 21:25

OMG, I just read your article and had tears running down my face it was so funny!! The people critisizing you in the comments really need to get a sense of humour.....

I am also a landlord (lady) and we also have a problem with really scanky tenants who basically have never tried to clean the property since they moved in (at least they didn't try to cover it up though!). We have a house which was built in the same decade and is a similar build and in the winter, we have a recurring problem with mould in the bathroom and around the windows upstairs and during the winter months, I wipe the condensation from the windows every day and I have to clean around our bath/shower on the grout and sealant every time we use it.

Yes, there are properties which do not suffer with many mould problems (I have lived in several properties) and they are usually new builds that have been massively insulated or flats which only have one outside wall.

The point is, that in the houses that do suffer from mould (as does our house, our rented property and my parent's house), then you have to regularly CLEAN particularly during the winter months and that goes a LONG way!!)

We have an extractor fan in the bathroom of our rented property but it still needs to be cleaned and we've never had any problems with previous tenants but when I saw how our current ones live, I nearly threw up!! We viewed the house in the summer and at that point it was fine but then a few months later when it had turned cold, we viewed it again and OMG, the mould had built up sooooo much!! Was quite interesting in a way because it showed me what would happen in our house if we never cleaned it. Absolutely revolting!!! We were so disgusted we spent a weekend in there testing it (with damp proof specialists) as we initally freaked out and thought we had a massive rising damp or penetrative damp problem but the specialists said it was from condensation so we scrubbed it all off (whilst the tenants watched us), not with anything chemical or with bleach but with regular sugar soap!!! We are going back soon to do what you did and remove the paint and then re-paint with Dulux Bathroom + so thanks a lot for all your advice!!

Think it's just majorly important to state that landlords and tenants have to WORK TOGETHER. Our tenants have never reported anything wrong (and we wished they did because we would have intervened sooner) but it was staggering to see how filthy the place had become in 3 months. Not just the mould, there was a lack of cleanliness everywhere but the mould looked the worst. Tenants should report any problem and if you have a dodgy landlord who ignores it then you should threaten them by saying you are going to sue them for negligence which has caused you to suffer ill health (the threat should be enough in most cases hopefully) but at the same time, the tenant has to regularly clean (I can see that a lot of tenants on here regularly clean but some like ours, DEF don't).

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star 8th February, 2016 @ 17:59

my landlord has just told me to wipe off the mild and keep painting over it because he doesn't want to fit a fan!

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Diza 23rd February, 2016 @ 13:02

Wish I had a nice and througher landlord like yourself. The mould in my private rental has been present since before I moved in (the previous tenant only moved around the corner) but it didn't become more apoarent until it was winter. My stuff ruined, i complained but fobbed off with the condensation excuse and niavely went with that. I couldnt afford to move out, I wish i had. I have to replace a lot of items/ furniture/clothes/matress on a periodic basis, bleach the walks every couple of months.
We had a surveyor in, they reccomended the walls are stripped back and insulated, ... my landlord claims they nedd access for essential repairs which only amount to painting and decorating (not even with anti mould paints)
Council wont help, now im being evicted for trying to get the correct repairs and council say im making myself homeless... sorry, im really depressed about all of this. Yes, Im trying to get the correct works done but niether do i want to be expose to plaster dust (they want to skim over the cracks) when we're already suffering from the bloody mould... I cant work them out, she doesnt want me here, but wants the money, doesnt want to do the best in order to stop the cold spots but uses tbe paint and decorating as grounds to mess me up in ever getting help to leave the property...
If anyone has a bit of ground down south I can park a mobile home on let me know!! 😞

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fedup 24th February, 2016 @ 13:33

Diaz. how about getting a job and nobody "down south" wants your pikey ass down here.

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Anthony 24th February, 2016 @ 14:06

Diza... get a big dehumidifier in the bedroom. Run it on high for a few hours a day. Wipe off any mould with a bleach spray. That's all that's needed in most cases.

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Christie 6th April, 2016 @ 07:19

Sorry haven't got a similar experience to share, just wanted to say I absolutely cried laughing at this blog!! 😂😂😂
Think it's amazing! Landlord is a legend!

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Natalie 21st April, 2016 @ 10:05

I was disgusted by the way you spoke of your tenants, and I am glad they have moved out out of your house. Hopefully they found a quality property which does not have mould in it:)

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 21st April, 2016 @ 11:20

I'm glad they moved out too :)

2 years later, the current tenants have no mould whatsoever (just like all the previous tenants, all 4 of them, before the one's I blogged about)...and I'm still receiving debt collection letters for the mould-riddened tenants, because they failed to pay utility bills and credit card bills.

So if you genuinely believe the problems weren't self-inflicted by my ex filthy tenants, that's your problem...

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Henry 29th August, 2016 @ 23:03

To Diza and other tenants...

If you are doing all the things you should to prevent / get rid of condensation and you still have damp / mould, give your landlord the opportunity to fix the problem.

If you have a crap landlord that won't and doesn't care, give your local council's Environmental Health Department a ring. They are concerned with poor heath effects of rental properties and can make landlords remedy problems.

I found out about this because a 'Princess' tenant threatened me with involving Env. Health.
So I spoke to them to see what their powers were (sorry a long time ago so cannot remember all the details). Turned out that apart from fixing something I intended anyway I was okay.

Apart from her mother coming to live with her and her son (not on the tenancy agreement) meant the flat was now officially "overcrowded"!
I would have laughed at what she'd brought upon herself due to her threat, apart from the fact that Env. Health could sue me because she had caused the overcrowding!

So I told her she had to leave and gave her a month or two to find alternative, larger accommodation or I'd have to evict.
After years of her demanding more than she should expect given the resonable rent (she wanted a 'palace for pennies') she suddenly became reasonable and found a new place within a month and moved out. Yes, I had to give her a reference to enable her to move, but I told the letting agency for her new flat she needed to be treated fairly but firmly - from the start- and she'd be okay.

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Rebecca Bassett 5th October, 2016 @ 16:03

I am a tenant and have lived in our house for 7 years and have suffered damp and mould for 7 years. We are in an end of terrace sun is on the front of the property all day and in shadow at the rear. We open our windows every day 365 days a year, we shower with the widows open slightly and use a kercher window cleaner to suck all the water off the walls in the bathroom. We do not dry clothes on radiators and use a condenser dryer. I bleach the ceilings 1 a month and clean the windows and sills every 2 months ( we work full time)
It is depressing to live in these conditions in this day and age I haven't decorated for a few years , what's the point ! My sons bedroom is the worse yes I know he's a teenager that's normal but this is a bad mouldy smell, all the paint has come off his window sill, most mornings I use the kercher to suck off all the condensation which normally equates to a jug full. Our landlord has just fitted an envirovent system (look it up) and a thermostatically controlled extractor in the kitchen but the guy who fitted it has said we need to clean all the mould off and re paint with an anti fugal paint, what gets me is I've spent 7 years cleaning this shithole we can't afford to move out (rip off estate agent fees) and now they expect me to fork out of my own pocket to keep their property decorated,our landlord has 1,000's of properties and we are 1 of many who look after our properties to a decent standard , but this is the limit. So landlords just think sometimes us tenants are not all bad sometimes we just get fed up clearing up for someone else. I'll let the blog know how the new venting system works.

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Ryan 20th December, 2016 @ 19:47

Not only was this the most entertaining article I've read this month, but I am following it to the letter since I have the exact same problem - however for me it was buying the house in that state.

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fredie 16th March, 2017 @ 06:26

Move to a country where dampness is not a problem!!
Issue fix !!!

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Donna 18th July, 2017 @ 09:19

I have to say I was so horrified to hear your lamenting of your tenants. The tenants who tried to make mould by painting? Doesn't this say they actually cared about leaving the property in good order albeit they missed the point entirely.

Your onslaught against their character told the whole story. Sorry but you sound unsupportive and critical to the point of ridiculous. When I rented a flat my tenants would pick up the phone to talk about snags, we could resolve them together. They knew I would listen and I knew they were telling me as they wanted to keep the property in good order.

I actually remember mould and fungus becoming an issue and we added ventilator bricks and a dehumidifier and hey presto... all happy.

If you are still a landlord I would take an Insights personality test to understand how you come across to others and then go for it - change your behaviour. I don't think many people reading your article could have felt anything more than sympathy for your abandoned tenants. Your tenants should be your customers and you should strive to check all is well.... not leave it to them to get wrong.

Good luck.

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The Landlord 18th July, 2017 @ 10:03

No offence, but please, spare me. You seem like a nice person, but your baseless judgemental narrative is annoying. You've actually gone down the complete wrong path, and not for one second have you considered that they could genuinely be 'bad tenants'

Firstly, I don't actually communicate with people like how I vent on my 'personal blog'. I wouldn't dare.

In any case...

I'm insulted by the fact you refer to them as "abandoned tenants", and I'm actually convinced you either didn't read the blog post, or you just completely ignored what you read and then made up what you wanted to believe.

They never once informed me about the mould issue, they simply painted over it, which I noticed during the final inspection. The tenant also lied about contacting me about the issue.

I'm a good landlord and I am very approachable, and I resolve problems ASAP. They were genuinely bad tenants. 2 years after they vacated, I was still receiving debt collection letters for them, from several different agencies. And yes, they were 2 months in arrears with me as well.

I have made dozens of blog posts about how treating good tenants with respect should be the landlords main goal etc.

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John Bull 20th July, 2017 @ 22:32

Well, it sounds like they were behaving in a tenant-like manner. This sometimes seems to involve having a unique ability to break things in improbable ways. But so long as my various tenants paid the rent and didn't start telling lies, I was happy with the situation.
Of course, now I'm a reformed character and have move into my former rental house, I still have to maintain it, but nobody pays me rent :( . That said, the improbable breakages seem to have ceased.

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Helen 9th October, 2017 @ 22:19

I am a tenant, I live with my husband and 2 children in a two bedroom property. We are big ventilators - actually I never encounter another household that keeps the windows and doors open as much as we do, all year round. Yet, we had mould.. We moved into this place in March 2011 and are about to leave this November. The first Autumn/Winter we lived here, I dried clothes indoors, big mistake. I had done this in other homes and I never had a problem. In the Spring the next year, the landlord, gave us a drier and painted over the mould and in the Autumn we brought a dehumidifier and made sure the door of the bathroom was left open and one of the bedrooms (with door stoppers), to allow for even more flow of air, from each side of the flat. Two sets of curtains got damaged from that time. I put them away, as I didn't want to live with mouldy curtains and the landlords didn't offer any solutions to them at that time. Now it is time for us to leave, I asked them what they want us to do with them, as I said there is no point dry cleaning them, as they are mouldy. They believe it is our cost to replace them, I don't agree, I think that the flat, the way it is made and being ground floor is prone to high humidity. We are also 4 in what I originally think was build for 1 or 2 people. Thoughts please, as I need to find a solution. They have been great landlords, so I don't like finishing here on a bad note, but to cover the cost of replacing 2 sets of large curtains is huge.

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Tanya 16th November, 2017 @ 12:53

It is obvious that you are a lazy landlord. How can you blame your tenants for a problem that you should have prevented? It is appalling! I am a landlord and I am aware of the duties of a landlord, your tenant shouldn't have painted anything! You should be happy that they even tried. "Incompetent tenant" you should be ashamed of yourself acting so ignorant. It is your sole responsibility as the landlord to make checks and repairs periodically. Were you not maintaining your property? Please cut the crap and stop blaming the poor tenant for your lack of responsibility.

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The Landlord 16th November, 2017 @ 13:03

I get the impression you didn't even read the blog post.

1) I know my responsibilities as a landlord.

2) My tenant never informed me of an infestation. If your property had a leak and your tenants didn't inform you, and the leak eventually caused the ceiling to collapse, would you blame yourself? I hope so.

3) I have had the property for 10 or so years, and they are the only tenants that have had mould issues. That's not a coincidence.

4) As soon as I was made aware of the problem I fixed it immediately, and spent money on redecorating the bathroom.

5) The tenants fell into 2 months of arrears and they ended up leaving the country (back to France, their native country) because they were up to their eyeballs in debts (not just with me). I had several debt-collectors turn up to the property looking for them.

If that's your definition of a "poor tenant", you're an absolute nut-job.

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Bob 23rd November, 2017 @ 13:13

And the moral of the story... If you don't like people and don't have any money, get a job, then you wont have to rent your property and interact with "people"... Poor you... GET A JOB!

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The Landlord 23rd November, 2017 @ 13:15

Or, just get competent tenants that bother reporting serious maintenance issues, instead of trying to hide it...

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Peter 8th February, 2018 @ 12:31

Dear Landlords.Perhaps you should inspect your properties more often to ensure that 'bad' things don't happen.It is your property,it is up to you to deal with it.

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leigh brown 12th March, 2018 @ 22:50

Inspect yes ,will tennant inform you of a problem mostly not,unless you threaten them with eviction
Due to no rent then all hell breaks loose,so yes inspection photos because they will lie there arse off,blame you bad landlord even when it’s misuse of property,I have come to the sad view some people just take the Micky out of landlords and play hard done by innocent we are people.
The day of the real bad landlords is I hope in Victorian times many people today are completely good hard working but subjected to vile tenants .so do home work suck your thumb move on.
Part of the game.

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Bev 9th October, 2019 @ 06:21

Very informative.

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Cassie 22nd November, 2019 @ 12:53

I am landlord of small 2 up 2 down.
Have extractor fans in kitchen and bathroom but have a major problem with condensation.
Tenants say they open windows, don’t dry washing, use dehumidifier and wipe walls down. Despite this there is Mold on the walls.
I know they don’t do any of the above as I have seen maidens full of clothes when doing other repairs.
I know there is no way of making them do the things needed so has anyone found any solutions?

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Kizza 22nd November, 2019 @ 13:15


How big is their dehumidifier? Those small ones that cost about £70 are useless.

If they or you buy a big one for £120+ and run it all day every day in the room with most problem, and clean filter regularly to get dust out, that should work.

Keep all the interior doors open while you run the dehumidifier.

If you want a definitive answer pay an INDEPENDENT damp specialist about £250 to inspect your property.

Do NOT pay a damp proof company to do a 'free' inspection. They'll lie to you.

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Miss f 1st January, 2020 @ 17:46

What would you have done if the mould had gone beyond the paint into the ceiling wall? Asking for a friend, of course;

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The Landlord 1st January, 2020 @ 20:49

@Miss f
For a friend, of course.

Into the ceiling walls, as in, in/under the plastering? I would have got it replastered. I would have had no other choice, I guess.

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Soph 8th March, 2020 @ 10:37

I painted over mould and did a google search to see if that would help and this popped up.

There are some differences though - im a property guardian so I have less rights than your run of the mill tennent.

The house was built in the 1800s and has no central heating or double glazing. There is a boarded fireplace in nearly every room but there are holes drilled in the boarding for ventilation. There is a hole in the roof and we are surrounded by tall trees which have started growing on the cieling tiles. The window frames are rotten. There isnt an outward facing window or extractor fan in the bathroom but there is a vent. The bathroom has thick carpet floors. We usually keep 1 room over 5 degrees C but even on warmer days, its colder than outside because of the trees. It isnt insulated and we racked up nearly £500 on electricity in 2 months trying to keep a room warm and the dehumidifier going.

The place where I painted over the mould was underneath a sash window, on textured wallpaper where it had come through and stained it. Having removed a part of the wallpaper - I realised that the mould is in the plaster and its flaking off in some areas. It needs stripping and replastering but I dont have the time, money or know how to do it.

There isnt a lot I can do because the agent wont replaster it. Im half tempted to give it a go but im scared I'll mess it up.

Luckily the mould I painted over isnt in a room we spend a lot of time in but I dont know what else to do.

I want to put a sofa along that wall but I dont want it to go mouldy.

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Annoyed 17th August, 2020 @ 23:18

You're calling your tenants knuckle heads? You're the thicko here, the mould is YOUR responsibility. You scumbag landlord. You give the decent ones a bad name.

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The Landlord 18th August, 2020 @ 09:13

You clearly didn't read the blog post.

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John Bull 19th August, 2020 @ 14:39


You know, it isn't always the landlord's fault?

Before being reformed, I did once have a damp issue with a tenant which I investigated and resolved (was actually due to some shite roof work the neighbour had (well-meaningly but with dementia) carried out on their side that was pouring water into the party wall).

You can't, however, always get it right. I have a friend who has a property they formerly lived in without issue. The place, now rented out, is now dripping wet. My friend (the landlord) has paid for a chartered surveyor to carry out a damp survey and improved the ventilation, lowered the soil level, repointed the wall, improved the heating, basically carrying out nearly every measure the surveyor suggested that could be carried out with tenants in place. As a tradesman myself, I was at the property on several occasions and can only comment that the air felt extremely damp whenever I have visited.

The landlord lowered the rent so the tenants could afford the cost of running a dehumifier ('costs ££s every day' in spite of being a 200W device therefore _incapable_ of using more than 5 kWh per day) as well as spending a lot on improving the place.

The tenants, for their part, do keep the bathroom window open but would not appear to be doing what was suggested i.e. opening all windows for half an hour at the warmest practicable time of day and leaving the heating on permanently, even if they only want it on a low setting such as 16°C. Instead, they seem to put it on only occasionally, which isn't suitable for an elderly property with solid brick walls. They are also chronic hoarders and every corner is stuffed with items that mean they cannot really keep things as clean and dry as might be desirable (as, if you spill water in the bathroom and don't wipe it, it can only dry via evaporation...). In fairness to them, they work weird shifts and generally someone is in bed at every hour of the day, which can make it harder to air the place.

The landlord has now (after two years of this) made the decision to give the tenants 3 months' notice and then invest heavily in the property. For one, we now need to ascertain beyond reasonable doubt what the cause of the high levels of humidity are and carry out any further remedial work if there is any to be done. They are basically a nice lot and the landlord liked them, but they'd be better off in a newbuild which might be more forgiving of their lifestyle than an 1800's redbrick.

Then the place will need a lot of work. My friend was previously thinking of keeping it budget, keeping the rent down and minimum interference, somewhere people who were a bit scruffy and with pets (like the landlord) could rent happily, but has now come around to the idea of everything being a lot smarter, no pets or smokers, refurbish the lot and attract a tenant prepared to keep the garden tidy, the house clean, and spend more than £300 a year on heating a semi-detached house).

Obviously the landord has responsibilities, but if you can't so much as get the tenants on board to air the place, what can you realistically achieve?

For a reality check here, is it possible for a house of that age and type to be lived in wthout damp issues? For this, I can easily volunteer my own experience as my own house is of a similar age and type as my friend's damp house. The difference being that I do all the things my friend advised her tenants to do (although I don't have a kitchen extract fan, so I can't use it). The result is very different:

I often have less than 40-50% R.H. in the winter, despite never heating above 18°C, so there really is very little humidity in the house (less than 7g per kg of dry air - in layman's terms this means that condensation only forms if a surface falls below 9°C). The only room that experiences any condensation is the bathroom. Unlike my friend's rental, my bathroom extract fan lacks a humidistat so it is a tad damper (and colder because the heating isn't very good in there). I wipe the bathroom ceiling with a microfibre cloth once a fortnight because I do get the odd spot. That's the extent. Perhaps a dot of mould 0.25" across every square foot of ceiling and, wiped regularly, it does not even appear to stain. And this, dear readers, is in good old rainy England.

The landlord can provide a good property, but cannot be reasonably expected to live in the spare room to encourage good behaviour at every moment of the day. That comes down to the tenants.

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Tenant 24th August, 2020 @ 01:39

Maybe you as a landlord should do your checks and make sure the property you are charging for and making money off of is safe you fucking moron, ever heard of a property check? And as for ridiculing and belittling the people paying your mortgage you should provide upkeep for the house you are renting out and you know.. making your money off of

Because you don’t come across as funny here you come across as a shiteating middle aged old cunt who needs a fucking hard slap.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 24th August, 2020 @ 09:13

I check my properties every 6 months. There was no sign of mould during the penultimate inspection.

I don't have a mortgage on the property. I'm belittling people that paint over mould and fail to notify their landlord of the issue, yes, and any reasonable person would also be annoyed by that.

Whenever tenants contact me with issues, I get them resolved ASAP. But I can't resolve issues if I'm not made aware of them.

You're having a hissy fit for completely irrational reasons. Calm down.

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John Bull 29th August, 2020 @ 09:18


Yeah, but nearly every house in the world will get damp if lived in in the wrong way and I suspect the vast majority of houses will suffer some mould from time to time. It is neither possible nor desirable to demolish the majority of the housing stock to prevent this.

Though personally, I would agree that a good landlord would visit twice a day, preferably at half seven in the morning and just when dinner is being served to check on the place.

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Andrew wright 22nd February, 2021 @ 14:26

I've had a damp problem for 2 years now.
Yes ive told the land lady blaming it on us .
But it is now staining we keep washing it off .
The roof is damp in the corners then runs down the corner of the room and it grows on our skirting boards and there is water in a double glazing .
No where else in the flat gets damp
All we get is keep wiping it off she hasnt even checked properly or even supplied a dehumidifier.
Im at my wits end

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Jennifer Howard 27th March, 2021 @ 07:24

Looking for advice on how to treat mould as our landlord who is Abri a housing association keeps moving the job back and messing us around so thinking of doing it ourselves.
Shocked about how you talk about your tenants! Are all landlords like this? Degrading just because we rent????

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 27th March, 2021 @ 09:15


Respectfully, did you even read the blog post? I have an issue with someone painting over mould (something potentially very dangerous) to hide it, instead of taking the sensible steps to resolve the issue, least of all make me aware of it.

So how did you conclude with the fact I'm degrading someone for being a tenant, instead of degrading someone for doing something potentially dangerous?

If you rented a home whereby someone had painted over mould instead of treating it properly, would YOU be happy, or would you be angry at the person that exposed you to that risk?

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John Bull 3rd April, 2021 @ 09:12


I've been a landlord. I don't think I'm being disrespectful, so presumably not all landlords are like this.

I think you'll find The Landlord is venting. To be honest, I reckon he's probably a decent sort. He hasn't named or alluded to the identities of the tenants, so he's not being unprofessional. Bear in mind that when you are trying to be a good landlord and have problems it can be most frustrating.

Example: I had redecorated my mother's house, lived there for years and the bathroom was never damp. My mother rented the house and the bathroom developed mould. Nothing serious and no complaints ensued, but the only thing that had changed was the occupants. Guess who had to pay to redecorate again: my mother.

Sometimes you'll have tenants who you'd say you like very much, but you'd find them much easier to like if they lived somewhere else, and if having a rant online lets The Landlord fulfil his obligations in person, so be it.

I hope you get your problem sorted. There is some good advice online if you look for it, and I'm sure you'll find it. I've given my ha'p'orth in post 115 above.

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tommy kerno 29th October, 2021 @ 08:24

I feel your pain. I do maintenance on multiple properties for several landlords. 95% of tenants complaining about mould are causing it themselves. They even whisk wet clothes off rads and hide them when they see me arrive to inspect the mould issue. Most genuine mould is caused be cold spots eg where roof insulation is short of the wall plate. Easily sorted. Blocked gutter with no soffit or cavity wall. Occasional leaking rads or taps. But most just by tenants that refuse to adhere to verbal and written advice on how to reduce mould and/or stop it. OOh, when I fit a nuaire drimaster, that cures the problem, they turn it off as its 'blowing cold air and freezing the house'.

















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