WTF Is This Shit (New Government Guide On Mould For Landlords)?

Mould bathroom

When the Government first announced the Renters Reform Bill, which includes the proposal to abolish the Section 21 ‘no fault’ notice, I think it was a reminder to many of us that we’re being led by a desperate party that needs to win votes.

That in itself isn’t terrible or unsurprising, but it is pretty psychotic when the desire to win takes precedence over fairness, statistical data, common sense, expert views, and even science.

Today, I present to you yet another prime example of how, in my view, the Government has lost its bloody mind: their recently published guide on Understanding and addressing the health risks of damp and mould in the home.

It’s a pretty long and meandering read, which, in all fairness, contains some pretty useful and practical information on how to prevent and manage mould in rental properties.

However – and this is what crawled up my snout and left behind the residual taste of horse manure – they’ve taken an unequivocal view that completely relinquishes tenants from being responsible for dampness and mould in a home.

In a sea of otherwise sound advice, this delusional take sticks out like a sore bell-end, and now it’s all I can see.

Regrettably, to quote the powers that be,

As this guidance also makes clear, tenants should not be blamed for damp and mould.

We are absolutely clear that it is totally unreasonable to blame damp and mould in the home on ‘lifestyle choices’


‘Cause we all know it’s fictional nonsense.

I wouldn’t be surprised if their source is: “trust me, bro”

How about, err, NO?

This kind of thinking has all the classic hallmarks of politicians doing politician things (probably while coked-up to the tits during a backroom Backgammon charity event).

How I know tenants can be responsible for mould

1) Experience

I’ve lived through it. I’ve seen it through my own tormented eyes. And so have many of you.

Have we all got it wrong? Are we all lying?

I’ve had a rental property for 15’ish years, and during that time I’ve had 5 different tenants roll through.

Tenant 1 was a DSS tenant. She was decent enough for the most part. Unfortunately she turned out to be a livewire at the end of the tenancy, when I notified her that I was going to deduct a small amount from the deposit to fix a door that was severely damaged during her tenure. The news went down like a lead balloon. Watching her flip over such a binary issue was rather quite bizarre.

Tenant 2 had a dog that shat all over the place. I didn’t even know he had a dog until after the fact. I’m just glad I had laminate flooring. But other than not, no problems.

Tenant 3 was a medical surgeon at the local hospital, and he was filthy as fuck. I remember doing an inspection and finding the entire kitchen coated in congealed grease. It was a mortifying discovery given his profession.

If it’s a choice between imminent death and having him operate on me, yes, I’d let him get to work, but I’d be distraught that he touched me. Even if he saved my life.

But not one of them had issues with dampness or mould.

Tenant 4, now they were an unforgettable duo consisting of total wallies.

They dried their wet clothes on the bathroom and bedroom radiators without properly ventilating (e.g. opening doors, windows and running the extractor fan).

I want to say their “lifestyle choices” caused mould outbreaks (directly on the walls and ceilings below where the radiators were located) but apparently that would be wrong of me.

The tenants’ didn’t actually report the issue to me, instead they decided to paint over the mould, thinking it was not only a reasonable solution to a potentially very serious health and safety risk, but also a clever way of hiding it from me.

Tenants Painted Over Mould

Needless to say, these knuckle-heads’ weren’t running the risk of winning any prizes for intelligence any time soon.

Tenant 5 has been an occupant for the past 6 years, and they have been wonderful, and so far no signs of mould.

If Tenant 4 isn’t the perfect example that demonstrates how it’s entirely possible for tenants to be responsible for dampness and mould then I’m officially a monkey’s uncle.

It’s actually disturbing that I have to articulate my experience to make such an obvious point.

By all accounts, according to the Government’s own logic, no one at all in society should be blamed or held responsible for mould outbreaks (unless it’s down to an overdue maintenance issue). So, for example, if I choose to leave wet flannels lying around in my own residential home and it causes mould, I shouldn’t blame myself – it ain’t my fault! But who is my punch bag?

Did they even think this through, for like, one second?

2) I call Daniel Barnett, LBC’s resident Barrister, to the stand

Daniel Barnett probably doesn’t remember this, but I certainly do, and boy am I glad.

Back in 2015, a tenant called into Daniel’s “legal hour” show on LBC radio station, to share her ongoing issue with mould in her rental property, which resulted in Daniel sharing his thoughts on who is responsible for mould in rental properties.

To quote my boy Daniel,

Generally landlords are responsible for damp if it’s caused by leaky pipes or structural defects going wrong, but the tenant will be responsible if it’s caused by condensation because of lack of ventilation, not keeping windows open or inadequate heating…

Here’s the full clip:

This seems to completely contradict the Government’s take. Daniel is, quite clearly, implying that lifestyle choices can cause dampness (obviously we didn’t need a barrister to confirm the obvious, but it helps).

I’m presuming that how we understand mould today – its biological properties and behaviour – hasn’t changed since 2015, right?

That’s what I thought.

There’s no legal precedent to support the Government’s ludicrous take, but I find it interesting that they have the gall to take the position they have and say it out loud. It’s so silly.

3) WTF is this shit?

Interestingly, after the following is stated:

We are absolutely clear that it is totally unreasonable to blame damp and mould in the home on ‘lifestyle choices’.

This is stated:

However, it may be beneficial to work with tenants to help them make small, reasonable adjustments to their behaviour, if appropriate, to reduce their damp and mould risk.

Wait, what? Surely they’re taking the piss now? Have they just stuck a drunk at the wheel and said, “have at it”?

Forget for a moment that they’re actually asking us to provide our tenants’ with life lessons on how to live (I mean, seriously?), but if – by their own admission – it is totally unreasonable to blame damp and mould in the home on “lifestyle choices”, then why would it be beneficial for landlords to work with tenants to make small “behavioural” changes to reduce the risk?

You can’t have it both ways.

Well, I ‘spose you can if you’re the Government.

(20 peanuts goes to the first person that can explain to me what the difference in meaning is between “lifestyle” and “behavioural” changes in this context, because they seem to be making a distinction.)

I’m not sitting on the naughty-step!

The Government’s guide was a direct response to the Coroner’s report to the tragic death of 2-year-old Awaab Ishak in 2020, due to mould in his family home, which was notably a social housing home.

I’ve been vocal in the past about the gigantic gap between health and safety regulations for social housing and private landlords, and how it’s criminal. Social housing is a complete joke. If they were made to abide by just 25% of the regulations the private rental sector is, they would be bankrupt within a week.

Absolutely horrifying what happened to Awaab.

But the Gov’s new and revised position on the matter is painfully mystifying; it looks like they’ve wheeled out yet another haphazard and shameless policy, seemingly from the back of a flea market. No quality control, just a heavy-handed approach that will superficially appease the larger side of the aisle, and they don’t even care if it defies logic.

One thing is for sure, if my tenant is taking scalding hot showers and leaving wet clothes lying around, while not properly ventilating, I sure as hell ain’t sitting on the naughty step.

You can definitely trust me on that, bro!

I wouldn’t die of shock if the mould expert that approved and signed off on this idea is hiding in the same place as the industry expert that believes abolishing S21 is a balanced idea. So don’t be surprised if neither is ever found.

To clarify, I fully understand that some landlords provide properties in terrible conditions that are conducive to mould growth, and those landlords should definitely be responsible for any necessary repairs and held accountable for negligence. But to take the position that “tenants should not be blamed for damp and mould” and “lifestyle choices” can’t be responsible is, quite simply, totally unreasonable. It really doesn’t help.

Hit me with your best tenant induced mould story!

Landlord out xo

56 Join the Conversation...

Showing 6 - 56 comments (out of 56)
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Sue E 31st October, 2023 @ 10:47

I quite agree with you! I have been a landlord of two flats for over 20 years and only had problems with mould with a couple of tenants. Both have been recently and I think it may be partly ( wholly?) due to people fearing that expensive heat will be lost if they ventilate properly. All have been nice tenants and I have provided dehumidifiers and helped them in every way I can, including explaining why mould forms but it is definitely caused by their lifestyles not inherent to the flats !

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Padders 31st October, 2023 @ 10:51

Dear Landlord,

On a totally different subject - Capital Gain Tax, are you aware that if someone sells property that’s not their home ie buy-to-let properties, business premises, land, inherited property.

They must report and pay any Capital Gains Tax on most sales of UK property within 60 days. To our good old friends at the HMRC, or else the HMRC will make them pull their own pants down, before having their wicked way with them, in the forms of interest and a penalty. See link to HMRC website below

If you already knew that cool, but I'm sure not everyone does.

Keep up the good work and the swearing!

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Karen 31st October, 2023 @ 11:00

It’s simple just open some windows, I don’t understand why people don’t open windows. Houses,flats whatever it is need to breath. Absolutely drives me bonkers.

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Dave w 31st October, 2023 @ 11:08

Had / have a tenant who works for one of the companies I own. He’s a driver, so works away for most of the week. He seems a nice normal man, who has had his own owned house before. He lives in a house that was my bachelor pad, so I know the property well.
I called him one day to ask how things were with the house and if he was still enjoying living there. He stated that he had a “slight” damp issue on one of the walls in the kitchen. I class myself as a v good and caring landlord (I own 4 other rental properties). So hearing about the mould I duly went round the next day to investigate.
When I arrive at the house, I instantly notice how cold and obviously damp it is. I then find that he has mould pretty much all the way through the house!!!
I then ask him how often he puts on the central heating (the only means of heat in the house). The answer - I never put the heating on as I’m away most of the week, and when I’m home I just put a jumper on.
Needless to say after a little guidance, we now have a damp free house

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Lisa Payne 31st October, 2023 @ 11:09

I am at the point now where I just want to give up....having been a landlord for nearly 25yrs I have seen most things (although the full size blow up naked doll on the sofa last week was a new one for me...)
I has never been so hard and so ridiculous to be a good, responsible landlord. The local councils already have so many powers to punish poor landlords, but they never do - only the ones like us who do everything by the book and work really hard to keep my tenants happy and healthy.
In some of my victorian terraces it is a constant battle with rising and penetrating damp - in my experience they are a real problem but rarely cause mould. The only mould I ever see is from condensing damp caused by tenants not venting their rooms properly, using the shower but turning off the extractor, cooking industrial amounts of rice/pasta without opening the window, drying their clothes on radiators, stuffing their rooms with clothes and furniture, I could go on...
I hate this government with a passion but I really worry what Labour have got in store for us, as some of their current rhetoric is terrifying..

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An Ex 'EXCELLENT' LA 31st October, 2023 @ 11:18

I have only ever had 1 bad experience with 'CONDENSATION'....

A Solid Wall Terrace Property I owned for 26 years with only 4 tenants. The 4th tenant didnt open a window or curtains even. They had a baby whilst occupying the property. I wished them 'CONGRATULATIONS on the BIRTH of their Baby and whilst chatting, I mentioned the fact that a whole new load of washing and drying will occur. I reminded the tenants and discussed the property type (Solid Wall Construction) and the greater risk of mould growth if the property is not heated and ventilated properly. I even gave them a 'Comprehensive leaflet about 'Managing Mould and Condensation in Your Home (with Pics) to Help! ).
At the following 6 month inspection appointment, I was so looking forward to seeing how the baby was settling into the world and how tired was Mam and Dad...
The house was covered in black mould spots. ( which had never happened before!). Ther was 'Piles of Clothes Everywhere' and every radiator triple layered with clothes. I was in complete 'SHOCK' and know Mam & Dad were not coping.
I took the time to talk generally about how 'Life Adjusting' a New Baby was and if I could help in anyway, (being an Ex Qualified Social Worker) I would be glad to do so. I took some photos for my records and went straight to the supermarket and bought some Cilit Bang Black Mould Remover (other brands available - but not as good I've found..just saying...Lol..) and said I would help by cleaning the mould off and this would immediately help Mam and Dad and allow them to start ventilating the property correctly in the future to stop the re-growth without any additional effort from them.

The following week I received a telephone call from Environmental Health Dept of Local Authority stating I have a 'Let Property' with Excessive Mould and in a sub standard condition for a Newly Born Child to reside, furthermore, a complaint had been made by the tenants that I was in fact harassing the tenants with my presence at the property. ( No Mention I was there for a scheduled and agreed 6 month inspection appointment.)

The DAMN CHEEK of these IRRESPONSIBLE ADULTS..... No Doubt a Section 21 notice was issued, quite rightly, in my opinion due to the tenants attitude and the broken lack of trust and confidence. Other than this 1 occasion in 30+ years, I have enjoyed my responsibilities of being a Landlord with some GREAT PEOPLE, so much so my Tenants have invited me attended their Weddings All Over The WORLD....USA, Portugal, France, Spain, Italy, Thailand and New Zealand.

There is nothing stranger than they say....

I never lost any sleep over the experience as I knew my conscience was clear, proving Very High Standard Accommodation and Exceptional Professional Service to ALL my all times of the day and night. This is the Job I've chosen to do, so I try carrying out my Landlord Responsibilities to the BEST of my abilities. That is All one can do!

Sad to say its all over for me now though as Ive sold off 62 properties over the past 4 years...The Government should have lots of CASH now after Paying My Capitals Gains Tax ..... Im 'RELEASED' from All The Ridiculous "politically Motivated POLICIES of recent times and to come in the future".

What was ENJOYABLE is now so "CONTROLLED" and its probably only going to get worse.

Im NOW ON 'GARDENING LEAVE'.... as they say...

I'll watch from the side lines just like these 'Ousted Politicians'.... the difference being ....'I WONT BE LAUGHING at LANDLORDS'.... :-(

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Dan 31st October, 2023 @ 11:40

Yep, never the Tenant's fault-Mine started moaning - got mould on the bedroom walls, in wardrobe blah , blah- Should have rung bells when they said the last place they left had an uncaring Landlord who did nothing about the mould. Being a good landlord I commissioned a specialist to carry out a survey in the place. The Guy knew his stuff and had a nose like a drug sniffer dog- First thing he said was - you dry your washing in the bedroom and looks like you never open the windows- A look of surprise as sherlock had caught them out- I can tell you don't open them as they are covered in dust and locked, with no key in sight!
Fortunately he was straight talking and they didn't like it- I just stood there with a hidden smirk- He was not earing anything from me as the survey was free, the only cost being if a suitable ventilation unit need to be installed-which it didnt!
He even sent a thorough report to me which I shared with the Tennants.
Don't get me started on their next request- We want a dog , err its a one bed flat! Needless to say they are now another Landlords problem!

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David Lees 31st October, 2023 @ 11:45

I agree with all the comments above. I have 8 properties, one of which I lived in for twelve months before the current tenant moved in with no issues of damp at all. He never opens windows, keeps curtains closed, has covered the radiator in the bedroom with two double beds side by side and openly admits to drying clothes indoors. So, mould, er obviously! He ignores all advice, then instructions on how to prevent it and now an Environmental Health officer from the local authority says this is my problem to solve. I just asked “how do I force him to do what I’ve told him to do to avoid the problem?”. No answer to that, but a long list of work they insist I do. I now only have 7 properties, he wrecked the place.

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Lyndsey Jones 31st October, 2023 @ 11:51

I'm so sick of the current landlord bashing. Since when do we have to parent every tenant?
Don't get me wrong I'm happy to correct issues & repairs but tenants also need to take responsibility. The problem with the drive for external insulation is that insurance companies do not like it. My broker has advised to steer clear for as long as possible.
So, with all the recent announcements I've implemented my escape plan. Within 7 years time I will no longer be a landlord. Hit me up if you want to but a Walthamstow property portfolio.

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Charlie 31st October, 2023 @ 11:54

We had a tenant in a Studio flat. There were 2 previous tenants in the flat since a complete refurb, no reported signs of damp or issues with temperature. There has also been one subsequent tenant in the flat, again with no reported signs of damp or issues with temperature.

However, tenant number 3 decided he was a bit chilly and didn't want to use his heating to save money so hung 2 heavy blankets from the ceiling in the hall to stop a perceived draft from the front door (never felt by any tenant before or since), hung clear plastic over the windows in place of curtains and put an oil filled radiator in the centre of the room (deciding not to use the brand new, more efficient night store heaters which were installed in the flat) which he covered with damp towels and any washing he needed to dry.

When I visited the flat to assess his complaint of damp & mould barely a month after taking over the flat, there were actual wet patches on the carpet under the plastic sheeting on the windows from condensation, I was dripped on several times from the ceiling and the walls had beaded water running down them, almost every surface (including on furniture) had black mould which had appeared from nothing in less than a month.

Tenant refused point blank to believe that it was because of his actions and insisted it was a leak from the roof. When I explained there was a flat directly above and below him with no damp whatsoever, he insisted on me proving this by showing him the above flat. Once we did, he contacted the council to claim that the water was coming through the walls. Council visited and agreed with us that it was completely his own doing.

Interesting to hear that these actions by the tenant are now apparently the landlord's fault. I can only assume that these lifestyle choices of the tenant had no bearing whatsoever on the situation and the landlord must have been entering the property every day in secret with a hose pipe, I'll have to have a stern word with them.

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Joe Hennessy 31st October, 2023 @ 12:12

I have a property which was spruced up for sale and vacant for the five or six months it was on the market. Well, said market went to shit so decided to hold onto it and rent out again…2 months in and the kitchen is more mould than white paint - usual issue of cooking/boiling etc with no ventilation. It’s heartbreaking but I fully accept it’s all my fault 🤬

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Matt 31st October, 2023 @ 12:29

Disappointing how the author makes little attempt to recognise the "logic" behind the Government's position. It is obvious that just as the mould choking the "brains" of politicians is the fault of the Landlords, or Government, so is the case similar in terms of rentals. That is the "thinking" behind the Government view.
The only obvious and very positive difference is that tenancy in Wastemonster is neither assured nor long term!
If putting people up for free (not free to you, mush, lol) in 4 star hotels stops small boats, then closing windows and drying clothes inside obviously stops mould. Seemples.

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Joanne Harvey 31st October, 2023 @ 12:33

I once had a tenant (lovely guy) who never opened the bathroom window when taking a shower. I had to call round for something and he mentioned there was a 'bit of mould' showing on the ceiling and he didn't know where it was coming from.
It wasn't a 'bit', it was a whole lot more than that. In fact mushrooms could quite happily have been cultivated there. Eeek!!
He was genuinely a good guy and I didn't want to lose my rag so I explained to him the cause of the now glistening, turning to black furcoat the ceiling sported and that it would have to be treated and repainted. I would pay for that BUT he was to OPEN THE WINDOW when taking his uber hot baths/showers etc.
Bless him he did and there was no repeat. 6 years, and 2 lots of tenants later, all of whom have received the OPEN THE WINDOW lecture, there has been no repeat of a fuzzy bathroom ceiling.
It's ironic really that my lovely chap had a PhD in air pollution - but was unable to recognise/appreciate the damage caused by condensation

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Phil The Landlord 31st October, 2023 @ 12:37

I have had a few shockers in particular bungalows designed for an old dear but with families in them.

Worst was a young guy plus his friend when after moving in the place looked like a Chinese laundry. Dozens of wet clothes, both had 2 showers every day etc and the house was literally dripping wet, in fact they rung to tell me there was a roof leak but it was condensation pouring from the ceiling.

I bought a Envirovent system £1450 (rent is only £700 btw) and it helped alot because it is hard wired and cannot be turned off. I also turned the heating on automatic because they never had it on during winter.....

As soon as they left 4 months later I sold the property and that is my theme from now.....anything becomes empty I sell. Someone said I should hold because rents are rocketing but I put monies into an ISA (well switched some things around to effectively do that) and at 5.85% I earn more and don't have the hassle.

With CGT allowances dropping I am selling two this year because there is no point waiting for next years CGT allowance because its so small now. At 55 and investing for 35 years it things like this are enough to nudge that process along for me,

Property was a great way to acquired wealth but not a great way to hold wealth. I wont sell everything but my view is 3 or 4 mortgage free houses is more than enough to live on and is much easier than 10 leveraged properties.

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David B 31st October, 2023 @ 12:58

As a professional landlord for over 20yrs

I now fit a PIV ( positive input ventilation ) unit in all my houses with a suitable loft void
They are amazing little units
When commissioned the difference is literally black and white within 24 hrs
It’s impossible to get any mould to grow whatever the lovely tenant does

Simply wires into the upstairs lighting circuit with a spur ( put it up in the loft and hide it ! )
As those naughty tenants have been known to remove the fuse to save on electric
Or complain that the hallway mounted input vent is draughty ( of course it is that’s the point )

Perhaps do a blog on others experiences with these units

Envirovent do a good assessment and fitting service ( it’s a franchise)

But I use the Nuaire eco plus heat and my electrician fits them all for less than £1000

There are also units for flats with no loft space

Just make sure there is fresh air into your loft first
By either soffit vets or breathable felt

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Smithy 31st October, 2023 @ 13:07

I had a tenant (couple with young child) in a small two bed Victoria terrace. She complained of damp and mould and demanded a damp specialist should do a report. Not just a 'salesman' for a local damp proofing company - she wanted an independent specialist. I contacted an excellent company who do a full survey and several pages of report - not cheap as you can understand - and they are not trying to see you any services. The person who attended was an older gentleman, polite and nicely spoken. The inspection lasts several hours - I drove down during the afternoon to see how he was getting on. He happened to be outside getting something out of the boot of his car. I approached and asked how things were going - I can remember his words to this day. He turned to me and said "She's a filthy cow!" - spoken with such venom! I was completely taken aback. He had remonstrated with her about the pile of wet washing and the tumble drier (not condensing) running. Also the lack of ventilation. And she did not like it. But I had supplied the independent expert she had requested, so she couldn't argue.

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sandra daniells 31st October, 2023 @ 13:09

I was a local councillor for 20 or so years . Every tine I had an issue with a council tenant experiencing damp or mould the council officers in the housing department would firmly lay blame on their tenants- telling them to open windows and stop drying stuff on radiators....they would never take responsibility for it. I wonder how they will deal with it now. It was the number one complaint!

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NW Landlord 31st October, 2023 @ 13:28

Same sort of experiences as everyone above.

Best 2 stories to share ...

1. 100yr old terrace. Property fully refurbed including plaster off, damp injection, plastered with plastering sand and portland cement with a damp proofer etc. Thus I was fairly confident no rising damp. Tenant complained. Mould spots on lounge ceiling, corners and above radiator. Windows dripped with water from the rising damp. I said it would be condensation, basically caused by moisture in the air. "Its all to do with heating and ventilation" I explained.

"It can't be" says tenant, "We don't use the heating".

A visit showed they did however, set up a mahoosive clothes maiden in the lounge, and leave everything to "air dry naturally".

2. Tenant reported roof leak just before xmas. I went round with ladders thinking it could juyst be guttering blocked.

Same old. No heating on, no windows open. Tenant was decorating the whole upstairs because he was having kids to stay at xmas. Three beds, bathroom and landing/stairs being emulsion painted. So brushibg the walls with water during a cold snap. Ceilings were dripping.

I now provide a dehumidifier in every property. I have been asked about paying the electric to run them as its me who wants them on ...

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Hannah 31st October, 2023 @ 13:31

I've had tenants who refused to open any windows for 18 months, (I asked the neighbour to monitor this)and claimed the dehumidifier I lent them didn't work.

My hunch was they were deliberately manufacturing mild and damp to game the housing register.

I phoned the council housing bureaucrats made them aware of the hijinks/system gaming.

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Emma 31st October, 2023 @ 13:51

"They" win, I'm out.... After almost 20 years with 13 properties I just can't do it any more.... And as another winter looms, I feel the pain of every landlord our there. For all the reasons already mentioned and more, I'm calling it quits and selling up - just in time by the sound of it. If it's not a lifestyle problem, then why did the "damp" issue disappear when we installed PIVs??? I can't bear to deal with the stupidity of some tenants any longer or the ineptitude of lettings agents and as much as I want to weep at the amount of Capital Gains Tax we will be paying, the sense of pending relief is worth it... well almost. I now have the misfortune of dealing with a lying, cheating online estate agent... but this time next year Rodney....

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Sam 31st October, 2023 @ 14:02

I completely agree with you. Our first venture into being landlords was renting out a house we had lived in ourselves for nearly 10 years. No damp or mould issues while we lived there.
Within a year of having a tenant there was mould in the bedrooms & the bathroom where clothes/towels had been hung without ventilation or heating - she said we should fix it, we gave her some 'behaviour advice'..!

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martin tasker 31st October, 2023 @ 14:40

Landlords beware !! Had a tenant who created mold in the bedroom due to her not opening the windows for 10 minutes in the morning to ventilate! And would not open bathroom windows after a shower water running down the tiles !

She called in enviromentale healh officer who said it was condensation !nad she thought she would scam me for a claim with no win no fee shark solicitors, I fort them off !!

But it took 2 years and threats of court action and calling their bluff to get them off my back !!

Advice allways send give your tenant a copy of letters on the the dangers of mold and get a signature from the tenant, and keep copy of any corespondence about mold damp.

Also send letters saying you have done any repairs requested as they can be used as evidence in any court action records and letters can save you having to give your tenant and her scam solictors any money !!

My tenant was evited and i sold up as it was not worth the hassle !
She left the place in a right pig hole needless to say she did not get her deposit back !
Had to re decorate top to bottom !

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Yashamatoto 31st October, 2023 @ 15:20

Who do we need to complain to, to get these absurd comments removed/changed???

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Trish 31st October, 2023 @ 15:50

This is what concerns me about sec21 going. There are some tenants that you just cannot educate on condensation. Like most landlords I have houses that are fine with some tenants and mouldy with other. The only difference being, some ventilate, others don’t.
The government cannot change physics ffs!

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Whybother 31st October, 2023 @ 15:58

Happily i sold my rental a few years back. Why bother with all the hassle when you can get 5% or more in simple savings account which is a better yield than i was getting renting.

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Borrieboy 31st October, 2023 @ 16:26

The RICS have published an advice piece on managing condensation…. I always email tenants this around this time of year, every year. Has it made a difference? In some cases no but mostly they seem to take note. I’ve also provided dehumidifiers but I did get some moans about the noise they make when running or the cost to run them.
A friend who’s also a landlord was advised to install something called “Cyfans”. Apparently this gadget pushes air into the property which then pushes out the damp air inside.
Cyfans come at a cost to buy and install, all said & done.
Nonetheless, this nut job govt ain’t gonna stop making private landlords’ lives difficult, so I’m in the process of outing one flat and will out another one next year. Leaves me with one and I’m not sure I’ll hang on to that for too much longer. A 3.9% ROI assuming absolutely no hiccups or big repair costs just ain’t worth the grief.

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Julia Bruce-Jones 31st October, 2023 @ 16:33

It’s no wonder there’s a shortage of rental properties when decent landlords are being so unsupported. On the whole my rentals have been fine but had one couple that (I believe) deliberately made the home uninhabitable from (condensation) damp. Gave advice, bought humidifier and replaced inefficient heating. Tenant had copd and was given council sheltered accommodation after the property was badly damaged by ‘lifestyle’. Bloody hard work getting the place returned to rentable condition. No problems with damp prior or since.

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Linfio 31st October, 2023 @ 17:08

In future, when one of our excellent Tenants leave, we will be selling off that property as we do not have the will to carry on letting properties as the market and tenants have changed dramatically in the past 10 years.

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Sean 31st October, 2023 @ 21:40

Hi all , I work in the social housing environment and believe me the local authorities have handed it on a plate for the tenants to completely smash it back in their faces after giving them the easy option of negating any fault from lifestyle living which has really negated any responsibility from the way you live you life in a responsible way and it’s filtered into the private sector along with all the other get outs of having any responsibility to ensure that live in an acceptable manner when renting others hard earned property from decent landlords trying to make a crust ! It’s same old now in this country and simple fact that the government’s just don’t want us to make even the smallest margin of profit to live off well earned investments And assets that have taken us years to acquire !! I’m also bailing out before we are stripped of any legal entitlement to be able to have rights and a say in the tenting of YOUR ASSETS and getting rid ourselves of tenants just want a rent free ride as money walks and talks just about everything these days. I have just been informed that my tenants of on the spot 7 years rental payments have split and the lady with 3 children cannot pay the rent ... with all the new rules coming from Parliament any idea on how I stand if the rent continues to not be paid or is it just the standard wait , evidence, court appearances and bailiffs costing a shit load of money to end the tenancy through the courts and probably my life in debt covering the unpaid bills due to this !!!! Any help guidance or legal advice would be greatly appreciated for getting my property back so I can sell off to pay no doubt the coming months years of not having to manage my Mortagage !

We are kind soles doing the local authorities and governments a favour by providing housing in an ever increasing pit of an overcrowding social housing environment
Over spilling onto private landlords whom are now expected to except their fate of being bullied into a non profitable business by the politicians that are not answerable to any mismanagement of a single penny wasted in the running of this country ! Cause it’s all related one way or another !!!!

Sorry but I’m vexed and just about on the verge of a breakdown on everything element of renting ....and acting my mental health and well being and just life in general !! Maybe living in Russia might be the better option FFS !!!

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Rosemary 31st October, 2023 @ 22:15

A neighbour rented out her lovely oast house with wooden window frames 2 years later the tenants move out and she found that they had vented the tumble dryer into the open plan kitchen and living space, every single window frame was rotten.
It really is my pet peeve, people not ventilating a house.
I always put it in the Tenancy agreement to ventilate when cooking and the bathroom and I talk that through with tenants when they view the property and before they move in! Some think I'm OTT😅

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The-active-one 1st November, 2023 @ 00:03

Most of the Mold is created because of the structure of the building. most landlords are to blame for Mold no insulation in the ceiling, the grout between the tiles in the bathroom has not been treaded to stop mold. aircon heating also produces. humidity, in bedrooms where people sleep, they breath out air that is warmer than the ceiling, windows walls etc., I have seen frost on internal windows and walls. a tenant pays rent, for a home expecting it to be safe. I often wondered why landlords had it so good, they have a document that says they own a property, yet it is someone else who pays for that property. the tenant, the majority of members of Parliament collect rent. they pass legislation to ensure the price of rents keep going up. they the politicians give taxpayer funded indirect payments to landlords. called rent assistance. then you have The House of Landlords. this is the greatest scam ever created against humanity, and has to end,

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Phil the landlord 1st November, 2023 @ 07:56

Some interesting comments and many saying they are ‘getting out’ and even I said I am significantly reducing what I have…3/4 is enough. Selling 2 this year.
Another thread but I wonder why they want us out….all this ranting about the government ‘not knowing the impact’ but they do. Ask why 5 times before you get close.
Macro and geopolitics (yep, another thread again indeed another website maybe) are my study area and many of us don’t ask the right question.
Unintended consequences rarely exist….if you believe you are cleverer than them they they have beaten you….whether it’s immigration, inflation, regs of rented property, money printing, dirty rivers, wars, indirect restrictions on energy use etc etc. Never listen to what they say just watch what they do.
These changes are never for the landlord or tenants changes…we (the whole globe) haven’t been run by leaders who want to benefit their country or their citizens for 30 years.
Ask what they get from it.

Some great posts and examples btw.

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GriffMG 1st November, 2023 @ 09:55

@Landlord Great article, thank you.

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Gemma 1st November, 2023 @ 12:15

This is a great read. I am a landlord in the UK and a renter in Germany - a sort of nightmarish scenario that is unavoidable due to the extreme cost of buying where I now live. This leaves me liable for furnishings, paintwork and cost of repairs (albeit only up to a certain value as a renter in Germany) in two properties, so I do not even get the benefits that my own tenants do in the UK.

My German rental contract specifically demands that the temperature never drops below 19 degrees C and that the rooms are properly ventilated several times per day. Mould is generally treated as the responsibility of the tenant and their lifestyle choices in Germany, and can be very expensive for a tenant. It is an easy way to lose a deposit or even be legally forced to pay extra money to your landlord after your departure. Many properties even forbid the drying of clothes in the apartment (although they must provide an alternative drying space).

Whereas, I have just forked out a small fortune to have my UK bathroom cleaned repainted with a mould-resistant paint, after it suddenly got moldy with my current tenants - which is a first for me.

I have had the property for 15 years, and this was never a problem with any previous tenants or myself, as there are ventilation methods and large windows to promote further ventilation in the room. It seems crazy that two countries could have such different approaches.

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padrone 2nd November, 2023 @ 12:40

I feel the pain of the landlords who've commented above and share some of their experiences.

I have mould in my own home. It is almost completely due to my choices, too many plants and not opening windows enough. I have an old house that doesn't have cavity walls and probably could do with being heated to higher temperatures. It doesn't bother me much which is just as well as there's obviously no-one to whine to or try to get compo from for my own negligence.

If there's anyone left who is looking to purchase a buy to let, newer houses or flats might be less prone to mould than old ones.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 2nd November, 2023 @ 23:19

Thanks for all the feedback, people, appreciate it.

To be honest, nothing I read was surprising unfortunately. But I guess we knew that already.

The sad reality is, a lot of the experiences shared are either down to people being lazy and/or incompetent - and apparently we should not only police that, but also be responsible for it *slaps forehead*

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The Landlord 2nd November, 2023 @ 23:27

Hi @Padders,

Yup, I'm well aware of being subject to capital gains tax when selling a BTL, I presumed it was common knowledge (sure do hope it is anyways). If a BTL becomes a residential property for a period of time, then that's a diff story though :)

Pretty sure most assets sold (or gifted) for profit is subject to CGT e.g. stocks, crypto, property (residential being excluded), art work etc.

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The Landlord 2nd November, 2023 @ 23:38

Hi @The-active-one

Your comment seems to be the only outlier, all good, all opinions welcome.

Although, I have to ask, did you actually read my blog post, or do you just have an axe to grind against landlords? Reason I ask is because it seems like you didn't read it at all, because you went off on a mindless rant that was kind of... not even the issue.

No one is disputing that structural defects can cause mould, and in those cases of course the landlord is responsible. I didn't read one landlord suggesting otherwise.

However, what we're saying is we have experienced cases whereby our tenants lifestyle choice has been responsible for condensation/mould growth - and in those cases, we should not be responsible for that.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 2nd November, 2023 @ 23:51

A few of you suggested that you're going to sell up and put the money in a high interest savings account, because the ROI is either better than what you're currently getting out of renting, or not high enough to warrant the effort.

I hear you loud and clear. And I'm not in the business of telling people what to do with their money or which stresses to tolerate, but I do want to make the following points:

- Interest rates won't stay high forever. It's actually quite likely we've hit the top (or getting very close to it). So at best, we might get decent rates for another or so. Then what? My property will keep on giving a decent yield, savings accounts won't.

- Cash loses it's value to inflation, and it doesn't benefit from capital growth like property does. So, for example, while you might get 4% ROI on a BTL and (temporarily) 5% in a savings account - what happens if property increases by 20 - 30% over the next 5 years and inflation increases by 12% (they seem like pretty reasonable figures)?

Just some things to consider.

Obviously everyone needs to do what's best for them. I've also had the internal debate between selling and sitting on cash Vs keeping my money tied into hard assets that benefits from yield and capital growth (and historically does a better job at fighting inflation than cash).

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The Landlord 2nd November, 2023 @ 23:53

Hi @padrone

Lol, genuinely admire your honesty and your objective response, so thanks for sharing.

At the very least, hope the plants give you pleasure.

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Phil the Landlord 3rd November, 2023 @ 08:12

Agree re your comments about Savings/interest rates and thought I would reply because I did specifically mention it.

You are right…cash today is a temporary hold even at 5.85% and I did mention I am not selling all but rather reducing from a ‘portfolio’ down to 3 or 4 unencumbered rentals….more than enough to live on.

I left work at 50 and now at 55, I am spreading assets across four core holdings cash, property, equities and commodities/hard assets.

We a taught at a young age that equities are risky and many people I know wouldn’t own shares but then put all their money into a local business proposition….whereas careful equity selection can great lifetime results by effectively owning a stake in giant businesses without having to work there. Obviously spread amongst many businesses to reduce the risk.

Where property has won over the past 30 years isn’t that it’s performed better than other areas….but the beauty of leverage.

For me, the secret is to know when you have won and when to exit…well maybe not exit but reduce significantly.

Absolutely great thread by the way….agree completely about the stuff you write about.

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Smithy 3rd November, 2023 @ 11:21

I posted earlier, but thought I would share this item on my local council website - you may have similar from your local council

I think it is a generic leaflet that other councils also use with their own logo.
Handy guide for tenants (saying much the same as we do).

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 4th November, 2023 @ 11:17

Hi @Phil The Landlord,

Completely with you. Can't disagree with any of what you said.

My opinion was more of a general thought, as I appreciate everyone has their own set of circumstances and in a different stage in life with their own goals.

I do get concerned, however, that a lot of people get side-tracked by focusing on yield/ROI alone (I've heard this argument a lot recently), because they end up neglecting important variables such inflation and capital growth.

It sounds like you restructured your portfolio to reduce risk and to further diversify, and I love it.

To be honest, I've diversified more recently.

Thanks for the feedback and kind words, appreciate it, and it means a lot.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 4th November, 2023 @ 11:19

Thanks for sharing @Smithy, that's actually really useful.

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Simon 4th November, 2023 @ 14:20

On your first tenant comment, that reminds me of when my then girlfriend (now wife) left a flat where she had lived for 2 years paying the rent on time each month, which wasn't cheap by the way.

She left the flat in totally immaculate condition however the landlord deducted £30 to pay for some incredibly minor piece of damage which we didn't think was justified anyway.

My wife had paid about £25k in rent over those 2 years, so as you can imagine, we felt it was incredibly petty by the landlord. Not saying it was the same in your situation, and I am normally 100% in favour of landlords being one myself, but it just felt very petty.

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The Landlord 4th November, 2023 @ 22:32

Hi @Simon,

I entirely agree with your sentiment, and I always take that into consideration (i.e. how long the tenant has been an occupant and how good they were as a tenant) when conducting the final inspection.

I rarely ever attempt to make claims for that reasons, even if I believe I have a strong case. In most cases I willingly forfeit it.

In this case, the tenant was there for 2'ish years from what I can remember, and the rent was £700 PCM (this was literally 12 or so years ago).

The front door was the only thing I called her up on even though I could have claimed for me. The door was literally cracked in half and consequently a security risk; it was significantly damaged, it would have required some force to get it in that condition (I have no idea how she managed it - and neither did she, apparently).

If it was an internal door I wouldn't have bothered, to be fair.

I ended up deducting half the amount it cost me to replace, and she got the majority of her deposit back.

But yup, as said, I'm definitely with you on this.

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Mike 5th November, 2023 @ 02:43

Sad to see so many experienced landlords downsizing or getting out. If the government or future government saw these comments, you'd like to think they'd be concerned. Stupid guidance like this isn't going to help make landlording attractive. I note in the comments that most sales tend to be once the tenants have left, are any of these sales to other landlods as buy to lets or are they all to owner occupiers, because the later is really concerning for the health of the PRS and doesnt help tenants either in the long run, because unscrupulous landlords aren't going to be the ones leaving.

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Emma 5th November, 2023 @ 08:18

As I already commented, after 20 years we are selling off our portfolio of 13 properties. Our initial reason was just family cirmunstances (deaths, divorces, growing old...). But I also think that there is a big undercurrent of changes (not in the landlords favour) that will have played their part - interest rates, tax, licensing, potential EPC issues, S21 etc etc. But I'll be honest, one of the biggest was seeing some tenants slowly destroy the very fabric of our houses and then be unable to find a decent, professional, reliable contractor to get things fixed properly and fast. For many years we had a great bloke, but after he retired we've been ripped off, overpaid for substandard work, lied to, scammed and that has been far worse than any issues our tenants might have caused. Of the 13 four were already empty when we made our decision and two remain completely unsold (one of empty ones and in need of a refurb and one tenanted). One tenant chose to leave when we announced the sale, S21 was used on three with two of those being given financial incentive to leave earlier but the last one staying put on council advice, S8 was used on one tenant (who still owes over £3000 on arrears but doesn't think that's too bad over her 10 year tenancy) but they are still in the property, hopefully leaving soon. Three were bought with the tenants in-situ (one of which is the perfect tenant!). As I also mentioned in my last post, this process has opened up my eyes to some of the unscrupulous tactics of so-called specialist estate agents and I want to weep at the amount they have taken from us, because the trade-off for that was a quick turnaround, yet here we still are over 6 months later.......

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The Landlord 5th November, 2023 @ 19:53

Hi @Emma,

Ouch, sounds like you've had a string of awful luck! I'm really sorry.

I don't know what to say, other than what I have already stated; everyone needs to do what's best for them. I can offer you a list of ways you can continue and perhaps mitigate some of those pitfalls, but I'm sure you've considered every option.

Do you just want completely out at this point? I'm sure you've considered just downsizing?

I'm actually in two minds about the direction of the industry.

I personally think the Government is starting to realise that they're playing a very dangerous game with landlords, and if too many jump ship, they'll have an even bigger problem on their hands. They've already shown signs of concerns by delaying a lot of proposals and even pivoting on some of them.

Obviously I don't know the future, but I'm still hopeful (perhaps naively)!

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Emma 5th November, 2023 @ 23:29

Hi Landlord,

A big thank you to you.

As a family of investors that has gone from six down to four (one death, one divorce so far...) we've just decided the time is right for us to bow out completely. But BECAUSE of everything we have endured and therefore learned (mostly the hard way, obvs) I actually don't think I'd be totally put off - that's either confidence in the wisdom I have gained or just some masochistic tendancies I've picked up along the way! We've had a good crack at it and in the end we will have definitely gained, so I can't grumble at that. I wouldn't have a portfolio 13, but I believe there are still properties out there that are ripe for the picking and, with what I know now I reckon I could still get a decent return. I still believe that anyone who is (slightly) younger than me, especially if they have their own practical skills to be hands-on or has a reliable building contactor they can trust, could still, potentially, make a sound investment. Age hasn't made me less capable, just less tolerant....

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Joanna 6th November, 2023 @ 07:48

Dear Landlords,

Nowadays, it is very tough to be a landlady or landlord.

I am wondering if you guys have any bad experiences dealing with the letting agents in the past.

In my case, I have a property in the UK. It has been managed by my letting agent since 2013, when I had to relocate to another country for my new adventure experience.

At first, their services were good and honest. However, the quality of their service has gone downhill.

They provided their own unqualified contractor to install a new set of showers in one of the bathrooms. The plumber failed to do the job properly and damaged tiles, e.g. making cracks appear without fixing them. As a result, tiling was heavily broken around the shower control unit. I had to pay over £1,036 to fix it. The company refused to take responsibility. They insisted that it was not their fault.

Their contractor is no longer working for the letting agency.

So far, the decision maker has only agreed to waive only a one-month management fee.

Just want to your thoughts and comments on this matter.

















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