Who Is Responsible For Mould In Rentals- Tenant Or Landlord?

Chaps, remember a couple of months ago, all the way back in gloomy January 2015, when I publicly broke down into a hysterical heap of oestrogen and wrote an emotional blog post about my personal battle with old age, and specifically how my symptoms were aggressively starting to surface? The tell-tale signs being the sudden and excessive growth of nostril hairs, which I’m regularly having to ‘maintain’, and a mortifying habit of listening to that absurd talk-show radio station LBC, which accumulates an audience with the average age of fossilised dinosaur shit (no offence if you’re an avid listener)?

God damn, that was a bleak winter.

I should add that somewhere buried with in the post, among my panic and disarray, exists useful information on tenants suing their landlords for disrepair (so it wasn’t just a dramatic ‘Dear Diary’ moment), which stemmed from ‘The Legal Hour’, a feature on LBC, hosted by Clive Bull and co-hosted by LBC’s resident Barrister Daniel Barnett, every Wednesday night. It’s a delicate slot where listeners’ can call in for free legal advice.

I know! What kind of person would tune into that on a Wednesday night, right? I agree. I’m pathetic. But besides from the numbing reality of my dreary life, Daniel offered some sensible advice on the matter, for both landlords and tenants, and that’s why I felt compelled to share the sound-byte.

You remember, right?

Well, tragically, my nostril hairs are still swinging by my ankles (when I allow them to grow out a little) and the default station tuned into my car is still LBC. Those are Demons I’ve yet to conquer, so in the mean time, my nostril hairs are firmly being tucked into my socks along with my humongous pecker, and I’m still frequently catching glimpses of ‘the legal hour’. Perhaps I should just embrace what I have become.

Tenant complains about mould

So there I was again, driving home on a Wednesday night, tuned in with reluctant interest…

A disgruntled tenant stepped up and made the call into LBC’s headquarters, seeking Daniel’s pearls of wisdom. She complained that her, I quote, “completely useless landlord” was responsible for a nasty little mould outbreak, but she was unfairly being held responsible for the chaos.

The general gist of the story is that the tenant was given notice by her landlord. Then, from what I understood, the tenant notified the letting agent managing the property, of a mould infestation that’s sucking the life out of the living room. The agent informed the tenant that she needs to “make good of the decor” before she vacates because the growth is her fault, because she failed to heat the property adequately (how the agent knew that remains a mystery). The tenant stepped forward with her defence by insisting she purchased extra heaters for the property.

So the million dollar question, who’s the asshole responsible for the mess, the landlord or the tenant?

Under these extremely common circumstances, both parties usually wag their crusty erections at one another, pointing blame, calling one another every name under the sun. So if you’re in that unfortunate situation, perhaps I can offer some clarity by relaying the advice given.

Listen to the Barrister explain who is responsible…

If you’re currently at work, notify your dead-beat boss that you’re taking a well-deserved 5 minute time-out so you can listen to the following sound-byte. If you’re fortunate enough to be in the hot seat, perhaps you should huddle your employees together and make a communal fuss over it (yes, even if they couldn’t give a shit and if your company has nothing to do with letting).

Once again, Daniel unloaded some good insight…


(This was aired on the 11th of February 2015)

The key takeaways

For those of you who who couldn’t listen, for whatever inexcusable reason that I’ll never accept, here’s the breakdown of what was said…

  • Tricky to blame the landlord
    The issue of mould is generally a tricky situation because normally landlords are legally responsible for everything to do with the basic build of the house, including the walls, but the responsibility for damp and mould is slightly different.
  • When landlords are responsible for mould
    Landlords are generally responsible for damp if it’s caused by leaky pipes, structural defects or a damp proof course going wrong.
  • When tenants are responsible for mould
    The tenant is responsible if it’s caused by condensation because of lack of ventilation, like not opening windows or inadequate heating.
  • Difficult to prove
    This is the key point.

    It’s always going to be very, very difficult to prove whether the mould was caused by inadequate heating or something else without getting an official assessment from a damp expert.

    On a sidenote, what an odd profession, a “damp expert” – I wonder who you have to sleep with to be a qualified one of those. I’ll do it. My C.V is so lifeless.

  • The deposit
    If it’s not obvious that the mould was caused by a leak or structural damage, then it’s most likely that the reason is due to the temperate not being adequately controlled by the tenant, consequently the cost of redecorating can be deducted from the tenant’s deposit.
  • Up to the tenant to prove innocence
    Rightly or wrongly so, it’s up to the tenant to prove the cause of the mould, because on the face of it, if there isn’t an obvious leak or any another obvious cause, the most likely explanation is lack of ventilation. That’s the most common cause for mould.

    If the tenant obtains a written report from a damp expert, stating that the problem isn’t caused by heating or ventilation and it’s actually because of a structural defect, then the landlord will most likely be held responsible.

  • Disputes and the tenancy deposit scheme
    If the tenant disputes the claim and wants to refuse the landlord from using the deposit to resolve the mould issue, the tenant can notify the tenancy deposit scheme in which the deposit is being held. The case will then be assessed by an internal arbitration scheme. But the problem with that is, the absence of evidence will suggest that the most likely cause is ventilation or heating.

Makes perfect sense to me, and it’s the way I’ve always believed the situation to be.

I’m no stranger to mould!

I suppose I should indulge a little and make this post partially about myself, otherwise it’s just rubbish.

The reason this particular subject perked my interest was because I’ve dealt with filthy tenants and mould back in 2013, which some of you may remember, so it’s an issue near and dear to my cold, bloody heart. But also, I know how controversial and grey the issue can be, so any enlightenment from someone qualified is always valuable.

But unlike the average mould related story, my dippy asshole tenants, husband and wife duo, took stupidity to the next level. They thought it would be an ingenious idea to paint over a series of mould infestations in an attempt to mask and presumably cure the problem before they vacated. Clearly not the brightest idea, not to mention extremely dangerous. In fact, it’s probably the worst idea created by mankind. Ever.

To cut a long and painful story short’ish (I’ll inevitably ramble on), my tenants fell into arrears so I shoved a shiny eviction notice down their gonorrhea-infected throats. Like most bitter and delusional tenants that are incapable of accepting responsibility for their own actions, they instinctively took warmly to playing the role of the victims and acted like I was the bad guy.

The mean landlord was kicking them out for falling into arrears. How dare he?

There were a few unpleasant exchanges, but they eventually vacated the property. Extremely reluctantly, of course. So the next natural step was to inspect the property– something I wasn’t looking forward to given the circumstances. I scoured the property top-to-bottom, with my U.V head-lamp and magnifying glass, just in case they spunked all over the walls in a volatile act of revenge. Perhaps a ploy a little too creative and colourful for their limited capabilities, but I wasn’t going to take any chances. They may have received outside help from a sharper mind, like a lump of dirt from the back garden.

Fortunately, the vicinity was a spunk-free zone, but it was devastatingly substituted by copious amounts of mould, which was smeared all over the bedroom and bathroom walls, unconvincingly hidden under a fresh coat of paint they had applied. On a sidenote, “amateur” sums up their efforts at best.

After stripping away the new layer of paint, this is what I was left with…

mold

Hideous, right? They blissfully stewed away in that confinement like a couple of diseased sewer rats.

I have a couple of cute chickens roaming around in my garden, but their downfall is how unbelievably filthy they are. They literally crap their pants all day long, in every possible variation; liquefied, solid, and often somewhere in the middle. They’ll also crap anywhere, they don’t care, literally everywhere, even on themselves, and they’ll happily stroll around with crusty, one-week-old faeces strapped onto their feet/legs. It’s repulsive.

What’s my point? Well, I don’t really have a good one, but they remind me of my tenants.

In my haste and under utter disgust, I immediately contacted my tenant…

There’s mould all over the walls, what happened? Why didn’t you tell me?

I tried contacting you about the mould problem many times. I have been sick because of the mould and so has my family. My solicitor will be in touch with you.

Urgh.

While the response wasn’t entirely surprising – because after all, I was dealing with a pair of fools that could be mentally challenged by a dry roasted peanut- I was still momentarily disabled by his continuous wrath of stupidity and audacity. Nothing phased him, he kept going like the Terminator.

Firstly, he didn’t try to contact me about the mould issue, not once. I would have addressed the issue immediately because I realise how dangerous mould can be, and also how expensive infestations can quickly become if they aren’t dealt with quickly. It would have been in my best interest to squash the issue ASAP. Secondly, he didn’t have a pot to piss in; he had debts coming out of his eyeballs; he didn’t even have the funds to call a Solicitor, let alone appoint one to fight a fictitious case with fictitious evidence to support his fictitious claim(s). Lying tossor.

Sadly, my tenants were adamant it was my fault. But either way, despite who’s at fault, wouldn’t any normal being try to remove the mould as soon as it was visible, as opposed to allowing it to spread so aggressively? Granted, I’m not qualified to diagnose anyone with being clinically retarded, but they are genuinely twisted folk. I said it.

I’ve had the property for 7’ish years; I’ve had two tenants in the property before them and one since, and there have been NO signs or complaints of mould. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to unravel what was going on there.

From my limited experience, most mould related issues in rental properties are caused by living habits/lifestyle, and not through structural defects, just like the Barrister said. Of course, I’m not saying landlords are never to blame, they are. However, it’s a sad fact of life that many people don’t realise how important ventilating is, especially in kitchens and bathrooms where moisture is commonly flourishing. In my particular case, I’m pretty certain my tenants dried their shitty wet clothes on the radiators and didn’t bother opening any windows. Needless to say, that’s a dangerous cocktail to ensure buckets of healthy and active mould-sex.

I never did hear from their solicitor. Unsolved mystery. Right.

Anyways, I don’t want to further distract from the useful information Daniel provided with my woes.

If you’re experiencing mould growth it might be worth going back in time and reading over my mould related nightmares if you want more information on how to prevent/remove mould. I think it’s important to note how critical it is for landlords to take precautions to prevent mould (e.g. install extractors, use anti-mould paint etc) and not simply rely on tenants to utilise common sense (that’s a recipe for disaster). I learnt that the hard way.

Anyone got any hideous mouldy stories to share with me? If so, grab the mic and let’s do this like it’s 1999…

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160 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Showing 110 - 160 comments (out of 160)
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David 7th January, 2017 @ 00:10

@Nige

Heating is particularly good tip, the fact that people can't afford to heat doea make mould issue worse.

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Nige 7th January, 2017 @ 00:43

@David

Tenants making comments on the state of property is all very well. But as you know Govt policy is about to screw landlords with reference to mortgage relief and repairs via the taxation changes.

I do not condone a building where repairs are not carried out but demands for improvement can push the boundaries.

Not a landlord any more but I do look after a couple of properties.

One example ..a long story how she conned the tenancy that I won't go into full details of but basically the ex husband was the sole tenant. He buggered off and gave ..yes gave the ex wife the property and she moved in without informing the landlord.

Been quite a good tenant but on a rent that is around 100 a month below market value. 600 instead of 700.

The landlord has a mortgage on the property. In the past year she has blown up 2 built in ovens , had a new front door fitted due to locks not holding any more due to constant bashing in when forgotten keys and a brand new boiler.

So with these plus mortgage payments the landlords ''profit'' is nudging the zero mark.

Now there is pressure to have a new bathroom. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the existing one. That has been verified by several inspections by various people.

Changes to repairs and mortgage relief will mean the landlord will run at a loss. The tenant is on DHSS so rent cannot be screwed up.

Landlords are NOT part of the social system. So with the changes the landlord is about to evict the tenant.

Why keep a tenant in a property when you can cash in, buy a renovation project and make far more than renting ??
I think that the taxation changes will backfire totally and that many landlords will do just what I am doing and so are all the landlords I know. Buying..renovating..selling.

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David 7th January, 2017 @ 09:13

@Nige

I totally agree with you about taxation changes, it goes against the whole policy of increasing housing supply. It was a trick by now defunct Osbourne, I would love to do the same thing to his £7m offshore tax fund (from Daddy's wallpaper biz).

I used to play cricket with a guy that used to smash stuff up to get insurance pay outs, sounds like that tenant is the same.

Boiler's are part of the investment but you need to teach some tenants how they work. Have it as a test to prequalify as a tenant!

I do not know why private landlords have to provide an oven and white goods when housing associations do not. If you do not supply it you do not have to fix it.

Also nothing says you have to replace with new, go to freecycle or gumtree. Always have a spare appliance if you are going to rent.

Once a tenant sees they are not getting new for old they will stop that game.

Another thing you see in social housing is industrial strength doors, toilet seats and floors that are hard as nails. If they want to carpet it they can.

The tenant does the decor too they just pay for the paint.

I think you may be right about development, I think if you are starting over it is best to use a company but if you are an existing landlord you are pretty much screwed by new tax and other legislation.

The most stupid thing is that Landlords will pass on costs, rents will go up, if rents go up LHA rates go up, if LHA rates go up so does Housing Benefit and thus the cost of welfare.

I think your managed tenant would be better off in Social Housing, they do not take any shit but are socially responsible and cheaper too. So in her case is she has kids or is vulnerable an S21 is a favour. If not she is going to have a hard time and may end up being shipped off to an armpit like Hull, still is the city of culture 2017, Hull and Culture, now that is an oxymoron.

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Nige 7th January, 2017 @ 10:12

@David
Its social engineering by the back door and like the immigration policies the load has been transferred to people least qualified to manage it.

Ref Gumtree etc. Yes my garage if full to the brim with car boot taps etc. Once this current house is renovated this stock will diminish !! Summer car boot sales here I come !!

Rents here have been hit with a baseball bat. Housing associations are building houses like mushrooms. Most of these houses are however going for sale as part ownership which of course if you read my earlier posts I totally agree with. If a tenant has a stake in the property then they take more care.

Free items are not valued. I went through the same educational system as a lot of these vunerable tenants. I was subject to 15% mortgage rates when they had rents protected.
No handouts here. ALL the Dhss tenants I have ever had have fiddled the system in some way. There is vunerable and vunerable. Im vunerable !! At 68 my investment for my retirement fund is being erroded. My pension is a lot less than any one of my Dhss tenants received. My health is borderline. But here I am repairing the mess that a 35 year old (who ''claims; they are disabled) left and its at my cost. Disable ? Neighbours have videos and evidence and are up in arms over the benefits she received but nobody listens.

I see Finland or Norway is trying a social experiment. 600 quid free gift to a lot of unemployed to see what they do with it. It is now being muted that all citizens should get a basic payout.

For figures sake say 5000 a year. Work as much as you want but tax will be at a high rate say 50%. Dont work and your basics will be provided. Want to get on then again your basic safety net is there. Why I should only get 115 a week state pension after paying into the system for 40+ years and one of my single parents got 465 a week plus free house and reduced council tax beats me. Especially as they never worked a day in their life.

Its no wonder that all landlords I know are pulling out and selling. Social engineering by the back door.

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Jill 7th January, 2017 @ 12:35

@David,

"just as largest part of benefits is rent in private sector."

No it isn't, far more goes to social landlords. About £5Bn more.

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Nige 8th January, 2017 @ 10:45

@David

PS have you seen the standard of decorating by tenants?
Akin to the skills that they learned at kndergarden. Poster paint colours,cutting in with a roller that catches the ceiling, wallpaper where the patterns are not matched up and usually a huge pattern in dark colours.
No wonder landlords stipulate NO DECORATING !!

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Bill 8th January, 2017 @ 21:01

"PS have you seen the standard of decorating by tenants?"

But! But! But! Its their 'uman rights innit!

Every tenant should have the right to express themselves with multi coloured cack handed daubs on walls and greedy landlords should be forced to smile and say how lovely it all looks -and then pay to have the walls skimmed and redecorated free of charge at the end of the tenancy.

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David 8th January, 2017 @ 21:11

@Jill

Sorry I think you did not understand the context, I said

"Of course she is paying her clients mortgage just as largest part of benefits is rent in private sector."

and what I meant was that the largest part of HER benefits, hence the benefits cap, so if someone lives in London, works the min hours to get child tax credit, child benefit, housing benefit etc, the amount she has to actually live on is tiny with the majority of HER benefits going to the landlord.

If we are going to talk about the largest welfare costs, then 65% goes on the elderly, which is why the cuts are hardly making a difference.

The Gov is pushing for housing associations to merge or die, I know some are pulling out of social housing completely because the Gov has screwed them on the obligation of developers to provide 20% "social" housing. At the same time they are trying to bring in the right to buy the social housing they own. This is a flawed strategy because they can't replace them.

Social housing meets the needs of very low paid, single mothers and vulnerable people. The affordable housing is not affordable at all.

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David 8th January, 2017 @ 21:16

Paints are from an approved set of colours, the idea is to give the tenant "buy in" so they are less likely to trash the place. It does not matter because the HA just fills holes and makes good repairs, it does not decorate, provide curtains, provide carpet, provide shower curtains, provide white goods or a cooker.

I know a lot of people here just have contempt for tenants, they probably think they are lords, their best option is to get out and invest in Buy2let cars or a mutual tracker fund.

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David 8th January, 2017 @ 21:46

Hey @Nige

They did that social experiment in Australia, gave every household a wad of cash, they spent it on Chinese tat, mostly big TV's. So did not help economy of Oz.

In Cuba everyone gets the same "ration" of food and clothing, milk vouchers for kids, if people do not work they have a basic life, pay is about $20 a month for most. Some find "power" by doing important jobs and others find opportunities to make money on side by stealing from the state (until recently all shops were run by the state) but they all sorts, pickers will steal food and sell it and cement truck drivers will steal cement. They over tax businesses to the point where it is not worthwhile, a B&B pays as if fully occupied every night as does a restaurant.

Nige, what would you say your hourly rate is, surely £100 per hour right? So if you spend 6 hours at a car boot sale you are £600 down plus the entry fee before you break even never mind make a profit.

Give the stuff away on Freecycle or put it on Gumtree or eBay at a fixed price. Car boot sales are for those who do not value their time.

Your 40 years of contributions did not actually cover the state debt for the same period, it did not cover the roads or the NHS, decisions were based on NEED. The same applies to the single mum in your example, the provision is made for children not the mum.

They are not the only people that gain from benefits and tax credits, many businesses build their workforce pay around tax credits, they limit the hours so that people get tax credits and trap them. It is essentially a subsidy to companies to pay less.

Look the reality is that we are all hamsters on a wheel, we fall into line, run on the wheel thinking we actually get somewhere. We are taxed when we earn, when we spend, when we travel, when we insure. when we save or invest and when we die.

Our public spending issue could be solved by simply taxing the likes of vodafone with their £6bn tax fiddle and their avoiding tax on £84bn after selling stake in Verizon.

Everyone is running on that wheel thinking they can be financially independent, but even those that did as they were told (as you did) are finding they are coming up short.

The pitchforks are coming!

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/06/the-pitchforks-are-coming-for-us-plutocrats-108014

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Nige 8th January, 2017 @ 22:53

@David
A HUNDRED POUNDS AN HOUR ?
Is that what you really think people earn ?
You earlier said that landlords had a degree of greed by making a profit on rents and if the tenant didn't pay they took them to court.
My plan, however flawed, was to invest in property paid for by net tax wages. Property was bought and yes it increased with time plus I built a favourable rental business out of it.
It was going to be my pension.
Yes I grafted. 2 full time jobs for a total of 13 years paid for my ''fund''
Scuppered in 2007/2008 where half my investment vanished in divorce. Ah well.
OH no help here then. No oh dear we will give you a house etc.
Then a heart attack. No help here with paying my mortgage or rates (council tax)
Then into hospital again . Nope no help.
I had to fund my daughter through uni. No help here.
So eventually I hope that my retirement fund will be my property so the Govt ups the CGT to 28% because it makes selling profit the same as wages and taxes at 18% instead of the 12% my liability would have been.
So I live on a total of 1080 pounds per month consisting of state pension and an old accrued employment pension. The rest comes out of my profits for property sale.
No other benefits except the usual NHS ones.

THEN 2 DHSS tenants force me to gut and virtually rebuild the properties using my pensions and what I did not piss up the wall.

There seems to be critisism of the elderly in our last post getting most of the benefits.
If like me they saved the fruits of their labours hoping for a better old age then there is virtually ZERO help.
If you are taken into a home they make you pay. If you die they bang you for inheritance tax.

So here I am at nearly 68 years old clearing up the shit from much younger people at a cost to my health, the depletion of my reserves, the clearing of my pension income to pay for repairs done by yours truly who does not get paid for my labours.

SO exactly who are these people who need help.
The ones who pissed every penny up the wall when I studied at college? Who bought new cars and furniture while I invested ? The tenants who buy cannabis instead of paying their water bills . (Ive had 3 of those)

Next time I come into this life I will get as rat arsed as I can because if you are diagnosed as an alcoholic you get more in additional benefits than I get in state pension.

So yes my odds and sods will be on car boot sales as the rest of my money has been drained by feckless bastards who stand up in court saying they have no money.

Oh 100 pounds an hour.??????

I admitted I was a landlord and now with no tenants I am a nobody.
Exactly what position do you hold thinking that I could possibly earn 100 an hour. Yes you did say you had clients so in what capacity ?

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Bill 8th January, 2017 @ 23:37

"It does not matter because the HA just fills holes and makes good repairs, it does not decorate, provide curtains, provide carpet, provide shower curtains, provide white goods or a cooker."

And for those tenants that want to move into a nicely decorated home, with curtains, carpets, white goods etc?
Are they to be dragged down to your one size fits all, Utopian lowest common denominator?
The Free Market might not be perfect but it sure beats the hell out of the alternative.

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David 9th January, 2017 @ 01:20

@Nige Nige Nige

Do not shoot the messenger but you prove my point about hamsters, you did all the things they told you to do and still got royally fucked up the arse.

You read the Daily Mail or similar and look for someone to blame, they will give you someone to blame every day of the week and that is what the Gov wants because as long as you are blaming people on benefits, the Disabled, Immigrants, Muslims, etc you are not blaming the Gov.

Now when I said £100 an hour it was about how much you value YOUR time, although there is no reason you can't earn that much or a whole lot more.

Average decent lawyer rates are £250 an hour, you are professional landlord, that brings together a bunch of skills from project manager, buyer, HR manager, finance manager and more.

The internet is a great leveller, there is no reason why you could not offer property management services and manage tenants (I think you even said you started doing this for others). You just need to aim HIGH.

Based on your posts on this forum, I would rather have you managing my property than a letting agent.

You have not followed that pitchforks link have you! See how much HE earns!

The greed I was referring to was when they had made excellent profit and went after a tenant (who had completely funded their mortgage) for a shortfall when they fell on hard time.

However, there are also market forces; rent is not the only source of profit, the value of the investment increases. Ask the foreign buyers, they leave their properties empty. There is nothing wrong with profit, as much as the market will bear, what is wrong is the shortage of housing.

The problem is imbalance, some people earn £7.20 an hour, some immigrants are paid £7.20 an hour for a 24 hour week but end up working 40 hours with no extra pay. At the same time some immigrants share 10 to a room when they first arrive. Meanwhile people earn millions or billions which is fine by me, but they avoid or evade tax, when others can’t

When your politicians use tax avoidance or evasion you have to conclude "if you can't beat em join em", an offshore company costs under £2k with an annual cost of between £500 and £1000.

Now with property the UK is not really a good market unless you are buying at the top end £1m plus because the ratios are fucked. You can get better returns in other countries.

Yep you grafted but the mistake you made was doing 2 jobs, instead of that you should have used each property to fund a second and third but not stopping there. Look at Trump, he got burned using his own money, then he used other people's money.

Now with any business you have to turn it into processes, then get those processes done at the lowest possible cost. Read a book called "emyth revisited" and it will explain how and how to create virtual roles with job definitions so you can employ people as soon as you can afford it. Read the 4 hour work week to discover how to assign some of the virtual roles to virtual assistants offshore.

Your divorce was just a fact of life, she needed a pension too!

A good mate of mine lost everything a few times, pension was his company but his biz partner lost it all. He contracted out of serps and his fund is worth so little that he will live off pension credits (benefits for pensioners). He had similar health issues to you, actually worse, difference is he does not blame others.

Local authorities do not help single people without dependents, I have even seen them push kids into social care and put mother (a nurse) on the street.

People who get "a house" only get the bedrooms they need and all modern social tenancies see them forced to trade down as soon as kids are 18. Tenancies are 1 year probation followed by 5 years then they review if you need those bedrooms. You are only "safe" in a 1 bed flat.

The official line for hamsters is “As a home owner and property investor one would expect you to have insurance to cover illness and lack of income. You did not need help paying mortgage because tenants were paying it. You could have got SSP either working for others or as a director of your own company.”

You did not HAVE to fund your daughter through Uni, you chose to, now we have to PAY for education don't you know!! Work through Uni. Student loans landing them with debt.

Many pensioners live on a lot less than £1000 a month, a disabled person I know lives on £500 a month with rent paid. They have to choose to heat or eat as they can hobble more than 20m so do not get mobility.

"SO exactly who are these people who need help."

Well there is the 48 year old coach driver who was hit by a truck and suffered brain damage, is like a 13 year old now. Has people come in and support him and managed by his parents in their 80's.

Or ex-military guy who can barely walk after injuries he sustained, he would rather top himself than be in a wheelchair. Did not go on benefits, got into massive debt, made homeless and picked up by homeless team when got a lung infection that nearly killed him. No alcohol, no drugs, a very strong mind but failing body.

Yes there are some single mums; most of them try to get back into work because it really is no fun trying to manage on benefits. A few abuse the system but it really is a tiny minority. Some have never been taught to budget, they do not have "common sense", e.g. they will buy a phone new or go to Bright House and not realise that they are being screwed. They could pick up everything they NEED off freecycle for free, just get a mate to help them collect it. They do not know how to budget for energy so they end up on pre-payment meters so pay more than everyone.

I do accept you were screwed on tax, you can bet that Tony Blair does not pay those rates because he structured his portfolio to avoid such tax. Your problem is you are attacking those that did not have your opportunity rather than those that screwed you.

It was not a criticism of elderly just the facts, they have access to up to 17 benefits, some could be means tested and given only to those who claim support for council tax. Remember the guy driving a Merc to the golf club on Panorama who said they would not dare go after the silver tops!! I think they paid their way, the only reason we have a funding crisis is public spending is because we turn a blind eye to tax avoidance or evasion. Plus the lack if testicles when it comes to ditching bad contracts like PFI. Speaking of the NHS, it is top heavy, you do not need over 400 boards of Directors along with all the non-jobs, but turkeys do not vote for Christmas. I would merge the boards 2 by 2 until I could get it under 20 and then down to 3 or 4. I would keep the clinicians (who do all the needed work), streamline the management.

It seems that you are rebuilding these properties for sale so it is an investment, you will get more for them than cost of repair, otherwise you would be better off selling them as they were. So you know what you are doing.

You are a decent bloke Nige but with your experiences I would have thought you would stop doing DSS tenants ages ago.

You are right that there was no point saving or performing any other hamster tasks that we are all told to do. You might as well move your money offshore and please poverty, cash in your pension and move it out of UK. I know of one guy who invented a gambling problem to get his cash out, used credit/debit cards at c a s i n o, cashed in chips.

Yep save up all your life for what? So you can leave your daughter a bit better off than you started with? NO, so you can fund your stay in a care home for £5k a month while you are abused by Filipinos or other agency workers. Then when you have run out of money they move you to the Council only funded shithole till you die.

I WOULD RATHER END MY OWN LIFE ON MY TERMS THAN GO THROUGH THAT!!

Yep at 68 you are facing the reality of your situation.

Personally I would lace drugs with strychnine and release it into market to weed out those who use cannabis and other drugs. I have no time for them, if life is so bad you need the weed then change your life or end it.

A fair number of your undesirables are ex-cons and they get drugs too in and out of prison. In the US they would get life for 3 strikes rule (out of sight is out of mind).

Of course if you or they believe there is a next time into this life then it is just a computer game and they can restart any time.

You do not get more benefits for being alcoholic, they tend to be put on a programme to rehab, their home and benefits are dependent on them sticking to it. Again there is some abuse but whether people drink too much, or take drugs it is because there is something wrong with their life.

It was not the feckless bastards who drained your money it was the decisions you made or the Gov who scammed you on tax while they give themselves rises via their chums at IPSA.

As I said you could earn £100 an hour, just create a company (ideally offshore), define the services you will offer, create a website, market that site, palm off what you can to people that cost you less and get more customers.

It seems to me you have property management skills, you can fill the gap between the letting agent scumbags who will go out of business and the online agents. You can even use the online agents yourself on behalf of others.

You can offer consultancy services at way over £100 per hour.

You can help people structure themselves so they do not get stung by tax the way you were. You can help them get mortgages (as an introducer), while your company deals with all the headaches of managing property, correct legal paperwork, managing tenants, repairs, voids etc.

Or you go down to B&Q for a part time j.o.b. and stay on the hamster

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David 9th January, 2017 @ 01:23

@Bill

It is not my utipia, it was a response to someone complaining about tenants expecting a landlord to put 2 new ovens in.

Fact is a landlord that provides white goods can use them as a profit centre.

No issue here with free market, just saying how HA's avoid such issues but make less money because their tenants tend to be a bit rougher than your delightful Islington tenant!

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Nige 9th January, 2017 @ 13:16

@David

I moan not a lot. Quite honestly with 53 years of various working environments behind me I chose my direction in life. And life throws some curved balls at times.

Yes I worked and the only time I have been unemployed was for 3 days when an employer was not able to provide employment.

What I did however is to invest in myself. Yes I have professional qualifications. I gave up work and went back to get those qualifications at my cost. I have taught myself 1001 things from car mechanics to all the associated building skills to do with properties and repairs. Yes I have the skills to run property management and at one stage had 13 of my own. As said...property is the worst position to be in if getting a divorce . Especially so if an x decides to cash in the chips and for some god damn reason can clean you out even though they planned this.(long long story with documentation to substantiate )

In the past and I recovered.

As a worker I was once asked. ''You are working at the weekend whilst we are out enjoying ourselves..WHY?
My answer was simple. If you spend 20 pounds and I earn 20 pounds then by Monday morning I will be 40 pounds better off. Same sort of attitude I have when painting a house. If I can save the money by not paying a third party then my funds will be higher.

What I object to is the do gooders who support the feckless who know only to well that they can fcuk up and the safety net will save them.

Take my latest disaster. Goodish tenant but just before I evicted her the money she received by conning the system was as much as I made in profit as a landlord (from rents) when I had 6 houses. Effort on her part. ZERO. She was even given a motability car when she didn't have a licence.Yep lent it to a friend who also didn't have a licence who wrote off 3 other cars.
So I evict her. Did the council check the condition of the property before handing her another new ? Nope.

There are very few disabilities where you are unable to work. There are jobs which can be run from home with an internet connection and a phone. I had a tenant who ran a fleet of taxis from my home using this method.

I know people who have cars on motability who refuse ALL offers of work if its not on a bus route as they might not be able to go to work if it snows . FFS. Doesn't stop them travelling all over the place and complaining about the rush hour and saying it took an hour to get home. Forgetting of course that working people are suffering the same every single day with no choice.

The real victims are those who took the opportunities to better themselves to get a better life and get penalised for doing so.

The legal profession are unique. They make the rules and then charge to administer them. Yep 250 per hour. I know of a spurios legal claim by a DHSS tenant who has been offered 15k in settlement when their own lawyers (ambulance chasers) tell them that the best she could get in court is 7500. They didn't have a driving licence and were driving when the rest of us were working.(oh there goes my insurance premiums again).

I had another tenant (before the latest rules) who had the aim of having 7 children. They had a congenital condition which meant that 2 of the cost the NHS a fortune before they died. Human right to do this of course.

I do believe national insurance was set up to cover those who fell on hard times. It must be the only insurance policy that can be claimed upon without anyone in the family ever having to pay a single contribution.(for 3 generations in some cases)

As said I am happy for a social safety net to exist but not at the expense of others. How many of us remember the introduction of the gift of 250 to newborns. (later 500) . Parents were meant to top up. The fruits of not doing this are now evident as 18 year olds get little in the way of benefits.

My brother runs a company with 140 employees. He is required to provide a pension scheme. I think the figures are 3,5,or 8 percent of income. The take up is marginal so if the employees reach retirement age (whatever that will be in the future) will they fall back on the social system ?

Minimum wage. Only increased to ensure that all employees pay national insurance (as well as employers).

Moan moan moan. Not really. Due to investment in myself and forward planning my life is comfortable. I paid for my house even though mortgage rates hit 15% at one stage. I weathered a downturn in income and could just as easily had my house repoed if I had not paid my mortgage on time. And under current rules there would have been little help as I would have deemed myself homeless.
Not the same for DHSS I'm afraid. Always help for them.

And for landlords like me the nail in the coffin has been the fact that full council tax is payable on a property damaged and needing repair by feckless bastards. The feckless bastards got a council tax reduction !!! Whoopee dooo.

Oh and as for your friend with 500 plus housing. That must equate to about the same as I get. And no doubt gets enough to live. Remember my pension is taxed as it is over the single persons tax allowance and I pay full rates(less single persons allowance). I am also liable for all repairs and insurance etc. So in effect I am probably worse off.

The system is the system and so its really at the back of my mind as I struggle to repair this property so that my latter years can be in a degree of better comfort. Nope not a Daily Mail or newspaper reader and Im not an avid watcher of the news !!
Why do I want other peoples problems when there are enough people who didn't invest in themselves trying to get me to solve theirs.

Must get back on the hamster wheel now !!!!

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Emily 9th January, 2017 @ 14:55

I open my windows every morning and don't dry washing in the house I have a tumble dryer with a pipe but I still get mould absolutely everywhere! I have an extractor fan in the kitchen. My land lord obviously is blaming me but how else do I get rid of it if I already do all those things?

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The Landlord 9th January, 2017 @ 16:36

@Emily
Hmm sounds like the issue is deeper rooted than on the surface. Do the walls feel constantly damp?

Also, do you completely kill the mould before it starts growing back? Because if you leave traces of mould behind, it will just continue growing/spreading spores...

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Jules 13th February, 2017 @ 17:52

My tenant has left and there are a number of items including mound evident around the bedroom window only and surrounding walls a little. I have double glazing which was installed in 2014 throughout and has ventilation slit that should be open was closed upon upon inspection when the inventory was undertaken. Photos taken. The mound is not substantial but it is there, I'm not sure if I have a claim if I can clean it off myself and whether I need to decorate the small areas it is evident around the sill and under near the heater. I'm about to pull together a list of items and costs from repairs/replacement and intend to include the mound as it would appear that they have not ventilated the room and the vent was closed. Not sure how much I can claim - maybe just the mound remover solution and time to clean before my next tenant? The deposit is with the DPS so I guess it will go through the deposit disputed resolution process. Any advice would be welcomed. Thanks

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Alicia 3rd September, 2017 @ 13:28

Moved into a property which has bedroom on the roof. Bedroom has 4 walls exposed and shed like roof. We complained when water came in and mould showed how our bed had warped from the moisture. Landlord sent faulty towers builder team to paint over roof and never bothered painting over the inside mould. Additionally gutter pipe on the side leaked so much that flat below bathroom was flooding (it travelled through the walls/floor) I've had mould testing done and its toxic. whats the case?

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David 3rd September, 2017 @ 14:10

@Alica

Involve the local Council (both environmental health and housing officer), is that your only bedroom, sounds like not fit for accommodation.

Make sure that they realise it is not your standard query about mould but rather what seems to have been a bolt on building that may or may not be legal.

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Alicia 4th September, 2017 @ 09:37

Thank you - good thinking I've contacted the council and had an acknowledgement it's been a week and no actual visit. I should add I pay £500 a week which is not cheap! I'm moving out but want to claim back damage to goods and some rent.

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Alicia 4th September, 2017 @ 09:41

I think I was concerned as most posts here imply it is tenants fault and even the tenancy agreement I signed makes tenant responsible for mould. The problem is it's been caused by water damage from shoddy roof even more shoddily repaired when I reported it and a pipe which has caused damage even 2 floors below... I'd like money back but this site has made me concerned that tenants can be responsible for mould. I should add the reason(I now know) the landlord is being so laissez faire is he is going for planning and plans to knock it down and build more flats over it hence he really doesn't care how dilapidated things become and just plans to collect rent, do no repairs and go for planning and build (this explains why he takes no care of the property)

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David 4th September, 2017 @ 09:44

@Alicia

Most Councils will just send a leaflet if you report mould, you need to escalate it.

If "shed" looks recently built, you might want to look at Council records for planning permission for the property, perhaps involve building control, make sure fire regulations are adequate.

If you had an AST rather than being a lodger you might want to check Landlord protected your deposit (see pages on this site).

I would speak to Council express that this is a serious matter, also speak to housing officer.

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David 4th September, 2017 @ 10:01

@Alicia

Yes this is a Landlord site and the crowd would like to "blame the victim" but that does not make it right. In the US there is a thing called "sick building" and massive law suits once a building is infected.

Don't get me wrong, tenants need to play their part, open windows when safe, every day I open my bathroom window after I shower, I open french doors when I wash clothes and am drying inside.

I think a lot of mould grows from damp proof course but is not treated in conventional way.

Your situation is really rather obvious from what you have stated. We know if you put a sofa or a bed up against an outside wall you can create a pocket of air that helps mould grow, all it needs is moisture. If you have poor roof and leaking gutters it is not surprising.

I know a Housing authority who had to rehouse a client because of it, it took them a month with a huge machine in each room to take the moisture out of the walls. They then treated it and killed the spores, the tenant moved back in and he had to paint the property, which is normal in HA, but they contributed. I spoke to him on another matter a year later and was mould free.

Tenancy agreement term would be void, under common law you cannot shift your liability for negligence like that. It would be considered an unfair contract term and if does not have severability clause could invalidate the whole contract.

Well you can contact the Council about his fitness to be a Landlord if he has this attitude about repairs.

I would not hold out much hope for a refund of rent but you could approach the Landlord.

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Alicia 4th September, 2017 @ 11:04

Thank you David you've been extremely helpful. I can move out on one months notice (which I will do) however it's annoying to pay rent when I've already left because I was getting sinusitis and headaches - that and a comment by my cleaner is what got me to look into mould and get it tested! Ideally I would like to be restored to the same position:

Ie reimbursed for
Mould testing Costs
Mattress and bedding x 2
Health tests for me and acupuncture
Back rent
Days off work (I only get paid the hours I work)

In terms of a tenant I've been outstanding I have a cleaner twice a week, am hardly home, eat out mainly, had a Marie kondo expert help me organise the apartment and keep it immaculate!

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David 5th September, 2017 @ 20:14

@Alicia

The only way you can really claim those is by relating them to the Landlord's responsibilities in the Contract.

You can withhold your rent, have him take legal action and issue a counter claim, or just make a claim against him in the small claims court, keep it under £10k

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Hayley 31st October, 2017 @ 09:30

Hi guys - long term lurker, first time commenter here! Just looking for a wee bit of advice :)

Fiancé & I have just moved into a rental property, got the keys on Saturday. There's a multitude of things wrong with it which I won't go into, but there are patches of mould in the bathroom and on some of the windowsills. The windowsill issues are due to the windows not being sealed correctly in their frames, in some instances they are actually coming away from the wall completely.

When we viewed the property we noticed the patches of mould in the bathroom but assumed that these would be rectified before a tenant moved in. So when we've collected the keys this weekend and noticed the mould still there with no action having been taken to remedy, we were pretty unhappy.

My question is: were we wrong to assume that the mould would be dealt with and do we have any grounds to ask the landlord/letting agent to rectify?

For context, it's a terraced house with an en-suite conversion, the letting agent manages the property in full.

Thanks :)

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David 31st October, 2017 @ 10:16

@Hayley

They say that to assume makes an ASS out of U and ME, you were wrong to assume if you did not raise it at the viewing.

However, it is a health hazard and your first action should be to report it to the local council to avoid revenge eviction (Deregulation Act 2015).

They you need to tell the agent that there is a health hazard and you require them to deal with it and it's cause.

I would give them a reasonable deadline, a list of works required, e.g. to fix the window, treat the mold, seal the affected areas, redecorate.

Once work done you will need to keep on top of room to see if it is coming back.

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Hayley 31st October, 2017 @ 10:40

@David

Thanks for replying so quickly! We did mention it to the letting agent at the viewing though we didn't get any real solid confirmation (written or verbal) that it would be dealt with. I know we probably shouldn't have assumed but it just seemed like common sense? Potential error on our part, I admit. Then when we collected the keys it was just listed as part of the inventory around the condition of the property rather than actually remedied. I've told my other half I'm happy to deal with it myself when I'm off work but he's convinced it should be the landlord/agent dealing with it.

As I mentioned there are loads of issues with the place that weren't noticed on first viewing (including 3 of the properties 6 radiators having rusted so badly there are gaping holes underneath, leaving us unable to heat 3 rooms....) and I just don't want to push the agent/landlord too far with repairs before we've even been in the place a week!

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David 31st October, 2017 @ 11:22

@Hayley

It sounds as if the property is not fit for occupation if the radiators do not work then you can't heat the property.

I would get a call into the Council in the first instance, note you do not want the environmental health team who will just assume you made the mold and send you a leaflet. You want the housing team, they may have an file on the Landlord on record.

Once that is done then make a snagging list, tell the agent that if the work is not carried out within 28 days you will consider getting your own contractors to remedy the faults as they are serious health issues and hold their client liable for the costs.

For now you can choose to withhold rent until they have confirmed they are getting the work remedied. If you do that
let the deposit protection company know as well so that if there is a dispute later it is on record.

Also send an email with receipt request and cc to yourself that the condition of the property does not match the inventory.

It is important to have an accurate inventory and for tenants to make it very clear on entry any things not mentioned in inventory or else they could say you did them.

If the deposit has not been protected yet, wait until 30 days have passed and if not protected by then you may be able to take action against them in the future.

It may be that this is a sloppy agent rather than Landlord, but time will tell, some landlords do not want to invest in their property and use agents as a buffer.

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Hayley 31st October, 2017 @ 12:05

@David

Thanks so much for your advice, will see how it goes! I personally don't think we're being unreasonable so I'm hoping we get something sorted soon

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James 9th November, 2017 @ 07:45

I vacated a student property in the summer that I had rented for two years. As with many student landlords (mine was a builder), an additional bedroom (which was allocated as mine) had been created by a stud wall partition which divided the former lounge. The bedroom that I was allocated was therefore on the ground floor and opened onto the lounge by means of a fire door. The bedroom did not have any windows or air vents, but it did have a patio door with louvre blinds actually fitted to the internal side of the glass. The only means of ventilating that room was to open the patio door: not a practical solution to leave an external door open to the world either at night when sleeping or during the day - for fear of entry of rodents, the neighbourhood's cats or burglars! Whilst I did my best to remove the black mould which kept building up on that patio door, the louvre blinds which were fitted to that door and which did not pull away from the glass made it very difficult to clean off. I did not link the respiratory symptoms I developed whilst at university to the problem in my bedroom and it was not until a medical family member of one of the other tenants came to the property towards the end of the tenancy that the link between the black mould and my health problems, and moreover the lack of a practical means of ventilating my bedroom and barriers to cleaning away the black mould were identified by them.

At the start of the tenancy, the landlord had just completed some building works: the front garden was full of rubble and other building debris which he took months to clear. The back garden was not manicured either and neither did the landlord manicure the grounds when he removed the rubble from site. We left the house extremely clean and tidy on leaving so the agent could find very little reason for making deductions from our deposit. Whilst we had cut the grass however, the landlord decided to invoice us for weedkiller and for his time in applying this, despite the fact that the weed growth at the end of tenancy was minor and it was certainly no different to what it was at the start of tenancy. There were some charges which we could not argue with although all of these jobs were charged at around £60 per hour (e.g He charged for cleaning the Xpelair filter in the bathroom. He charged for replacing the cooker hood filter), but even with the unreasonable charges for weedkiller and also for touching up a couple of minor marks on the paintwork (we were presented with two close up pictures by the agent of these two minor marks) which really should have been classed as minor and fair wear and tear for a two year tenancy, we should have been set to get most of our deposit back. We are still waiting!

We have also had a catalogue of errors from the agent and whenever we have telephoned, there was never anyone "in that department" who was available to take the call. Emails have been frequently ignored.

It seems to me that some landlords and particularly landlords of student properties expect their tenants to tolerate everything and yet they deliberately go looking for reasons to extract more money at the end of tenancy (our agent even tried to blame things like discoloured wardrobes and drawers as "tenant damage" until we pointed out that the pictures he had taken at end of tenancy matched exactly the state of the discoloured (old) furniture at the start of tenancy as evidenced by their own inventory photographs at the start of tenancy!) Anyway it is now three months after our tenancy ended and they are still delaying the matter of returning our deposits. I suspect that many students don't clean houses as well as we did and that they are not used to giving people their deposits back. I also suspect that agents do not expect tenants to pursue things like delayed communication over deposits and instead do expect them just to give up, once they have moved on (miles away).

The landlord paid £173,000 for the property (an ex council house) in 2014 and was receiving rent of £15,000 a year from us. The four student tenants paid a deposit of some £1800.

Following this experience, my advice to every student would be to take their own pictures and document everything. Fortunately we have our own photographs and have kept emails etc and now the agent has now been given one week to reach a reasonable settlement with us.

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David 9th November, 2017 @ 14:41

@James

The health risks of mould are massive, I know someone who has a really bad respiratory problem after 2 years in a mould infested flat. In the USA there are whole buildings condemned (google sick building and see) as well as legal action for medical and other costs. The person I know is now so weak that he cannot work or even carry a single bag of shopping. He has pictures of the cause which was from a bad damp proof course but the Landlord promptly sold the property and is no longer a UK resident.

For your situation you may want to get a call into the Local Council Housing Dept and the Building Control Services Dept to have them view the property. Also let new tenants know and suggest they complain too.

The filters for the fan and oven are clear wear and tear items, you are spot on about the garden having to be in the same condition it was when it was given to you.

Not only that, the tenancy agreement must specify the obligation re the garden and it must not conflict with common law, especially their own obligations.

Your deposit should have been protected in one of the three Government approved deposit protection schemes; DPS, TDS & MyDeposits.

It is against the law not to protect a deposit on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy in one of the three schemes and the penalty sanctions of up to 3x the deposit go to the tenants. They not only have to protect the deposit WITHIN 30 DAYS but also inform the Lead Tenant with the Prescribed Information, also within 30 days. You can check the links below to see if the deposit was protected and in time.

bit.ly/chkdep1

bit.ly/chkdep2

bit.ly/chkdep3

If you deposit has not been protected, post back on the page below:

https://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/i-havent-protected-my-tenants-deposit/

It is NOT the agent or the Landlord who decides the deduction, it is the deposit company.

When you leave the property you request the return of your deposit from the Deposit Protection Company and they contact the Landlord to ask them to make any representations for deductions, you are then given an opportunity to agree any deductions or dispute them, e.g. for wear and tear.

You can choose to have the deposit company as arbiter for deciding the deduction OR you can choose to take your Landlord to Court. If you allow the deposit company to arbitrate you cannot later take them to Court for that issue, but you always have 6 years to take them to Court for failure to protect deposit.

Although the Office of Fair Trading has been devolved into Trading Standards, their 2006 guide on unfair contract terms in tenancy agreement is practically a bible for decisions on these issues by both Courts and the deposit companies, you can download it at the following link:

bit.ly/oftguide

In addition to this the Landlord may have an unfair contract term if any term goes against common law. For example the requirement to mitigate your losses, this means that before a Landlord can hold you responsible for a loss they must have done all that is practical to reduce their losses before they blame you.

I hope you will see your complaint through, it is all part of weeding out bad Landlords and/or Agents who seem to feel that the deposit is a fund to finance their business.

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Tracey 14th November, 2017 @ 21:51

Wow!! What a forum, tons of factually incorrect on causes of mould, damp etc. Lots of ranting - Nige - grief!!!!

Please people, look elsewhere, never have I read such absolutely horrid rant's about tenants/ex tenant's.
Having been a private tenant for 13 years, and worked in property/construction, I have alsomseen both sides.
Some properties - due to construction/layout , simply lend to a poor envirinment & re,edial works may be appropriate. Some people do not ventilate or air a house properly & need to learn to exchange the air , ventilate and be sensible ref laundry drying , or other activities that cause vapour. Do your research people . Read about the dew point & study till it makes sense.
Landlords who refer to ex tenants as I have read on this forum, seriously the Landlord side - it aint perfect either, and many are charging ridiculous rental , for sub standard properties.

Having tomrebt privately, no-one really enjoys & can be an insecure way if life, made worse by problems in such properties - as mould, damp etc. Best advice - start with Dept Of Environment (Council), Property Chamber (PRH Panel previously), Surveyor or builder , offering free quotes or opinion. Declare concerns to Landlord & interact sensibly with. Stae your case & arm yourself with common sense help, forums like this do little in the real world, often cause people to worry or become aggressive.
Ranting about un-connected drivel, seems popular on here.
Living "normally", and not exacerbating a condensation problem (ventilate/open windows & remedy condensation when necessary), as I do- I still have high humidity & a damp feeling house (1950's semi/upper floor) , nkthing I can do more - like MANY on this site.

Belittling fellow human beings , ranting about tenants past, yakking about who/what you are, all kinda pointless - most people wanted sensible, practical advice- not read the riot act, literally.

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David 14th November, 2017 @ 22:15

@Tracey

I am a regular visitor here and I quite like the way people can speak their mind, bitch about nightmare tenants and landlords alike.

Thanks for your input on the mould, I hope it helps somebody.

I heard on radio last week that one of the factors in the current austerity economy is that people cannot afford to heat so the damp air is ideal for mould growth.

Also if you have paid to heat a place the last thing you want to do is open a window, ideally the property should have proper ventilation bricks or ducting for bathrooms without windows.

I have a nephew who moved into a housing association flat a few years ago, it had been riddled with mould, he complained to the HA but they said "yes it DID have mould but we have treated it, you can now paint over it" he did that, he used anti mould paint as a barrier in the places where there had been mould then painted over with eggshell (at the request of the HA).

I spoke to him last week and asked him about the mould, he said it has not returned, just a little on the cavities where the bath seal filler has been put at the base on the tiles over grouting.

So it seems that if you treat a property properly and put the right preventative measures in place you can get on top of it if it has not gone too far.

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Emmaline 2nd February, 2018 @ 09:20

Wow!! Shocked to hear how the landlords here refer to their tenants!!!! Granted some tenants are out for themselves but most aren't. I live in a 3 bed house with husband and 3 kids. We work, pay the extortionate rent and still are expected to live in a mouldy house! Landlord had just painted over any issues so looked ok when we moved in. Turns out the windows leak in the rain, guttering is broken which is causing the mould. Any landlords able to explain why this is still allowed to happen?? If we aren't happy we can move out?? With sites like this I'm not surprised some landlords are happy to take your hard earned cash and do bugger all....

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Emmaline 2nd February, 2018 @ 09:27

And why should we move out again with all the associated costs being borne by us AGAIN! Recently I think it was Peterborough ran a pilot scheme. The council inspected all private rental properties. Any mould, broken guttering, poor roofing, flashing, drains, doors that don't close, in fact any issues that make it obvious the property hadn't been properly maintained means it can't be rented. At least not until the problems are rectified, i.e. Not just a coat of cheap paint.....these properties were inspected again every 6 months. Also peace of mind for landlords who are kept informed. Due to low wages and shockingly high house prices we won't ever be able to buy. If you are lucky enough to own a 'spare' house then for goodness sake maintain it!

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Nige 2nd February, 2018 @ 09:54

@Emmaline
While I sympathize with your situation you raise many points.

The first one I will address is Government policy. Most landlords will have expenses and the rules on repairs and many other things have changed against the landlord. You then assume that all the rent goes into a landlord back pocket. It doesn't. For example if the property goes empty the council tax doubles. There is insurance and statutory obligations like gas checks. If the landlord employs an agent that could be another expense of around 10% of the rent. Then there is the background work of producing yearly tax returns and paying tax at 20% and it can be as high as 40%. Boo Hoo for the landlord you might say thats their choice to be in the business and you are right to say this. But where would you be without a (private in your case) landlord ? There are not enough social or council properties to house you .

This is no excuse for not carrying out essential repairs and remember the landlord is actually losing money on the value of the house as it deteriorates.

If you have real concerns you can contact various council departments to take action.

Regarding damp/mould etc. Nearly every investigation in 20 years where experts looked at mould in my properties it fell down to tenant behavior. My research showed that a family such as yours produces about 10 litres of water vapour a day. The equivalent of pouring a bucket of water on your living room carpet every day. It has to go somewhere and tenants are loathe to open windows due to high fuel costs.

Personally I would move somewhere else but that would be my choice. Then again it was also my choice to put off having kids until I could provide decent accommodation for them.

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Emmaline 2nd February, 2018 @ 10:05

@nige......I appreciate a different viewpoint. I am aware that the landlord won't be pocketing the rent. My issue is that we can be told, well, move on. No thanks, maintain your property! Maybe I'm in the minority.... But I open all the windows in the day, religious about the extractor fans in kitchen and bathroom and I don't ever dry washing on radiators. My job as a tenant is to be aware that our behaviour impacts the property too as you very rightly say. My point is that surely these are things that shouldn't be just covered up?? I'm in the south of England where the rents are very high. We were lucky enough to rent our last house for 17 years, we had a good working relationship with our landlord. For personal reasons he needed to sell. As I said before, I find the whole ' put up and shut up' or move along arguement rather dismaying. Maybe that's because I know we are top notch tenants....

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Emmaline 2nd February, 2018 @ 10:08

@nige.....one more thing, involving council or anyone else is a fast track to being 'asked to leave'. True for alot of tenants. This thread has been a real eye opener.

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Nige 2nd February, 2018 @ 11:13

I understand the predicament especially with high rents. As a landlord who had tenants pay cash it was an eye opener to me to see that pile of notes rather than a figure on a bank statement. Also knowing that in 30 days they would have to find that pile again.

If you have concerns don't phone, email....put it in writing and keep a copy.
A landlord has no hope of eviction whatsoever if repairs are technically forcing you to move.

Unfortunately as you see by some of the comments on this forum being a landlord can actually be quite hard complying with all the rules. This is one reason I sold up in my retirement.(not one house went back to the rental sector)

There are good tenants..yes I have had a lot but when you get a bad one..yes Ive had my fair share and more...they can cost a landlord one years lost rent. Just like the supermarkets and shoplifting. Prices go up to cater for these losses.

I do believe as was muted further up in the forum that landlords will have to register to be able to let a property under a licence. Unfortunately there is no database allowed under data protection laws on bad tenants.

A a landlord friend of mine says, and he has had a lot of smashed up properties. '' Tenants are all smiley smiley and on their best behavior when they need a property but don't give a flying F*** once they get it '' Thats why good prospective tenants have to jump though so many credit checks, references etc.

Just a note. Every single property I ever owned was let in a condition that I would have happily occupied it. Only one in 20 years came back in a condition that didn't need a lot of work and we are not talking just a lick of paint or new carpets.

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Emmaline 2nd February, 2018 @ 11:32

@nige.....I'd happily sign up to a good tenants list/register and support one for terrible tenants too. Valid points on both sides. As a landlord I cannot imagine the frustration of awful tenants, eviction process/cost, I couldn't do it! However, there are some nice tenants left that treat your house as their home :-)

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David 2nd February, 2018 @ 15:19

@Emmaline

The good news is that there are two new laws that will help you, but they will not be here till 2019/20.

Meanwhile you need to inform the Council first, give them photographic evidence, try to get them to issue an improvement order. Get letter from your GP saying mould is affecting your health and include it with email to Council.

Many Landlords will just issue a "revenge" S21 eviction notice when a tenant contacts them for repairs, however, if they have been served with an improvement notice the section 21 is void under Deregulation Act 2015 and a new one cannot be served till 6 months after repairs have been signed off by Council.

So the two new laws that will help you,

1. Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill 2017-19

https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2017-19/homesfitnessforhumanhabitationandliabilityforhousingstandards.html

This will amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to require that residential rented accommodation is provided and maintained in a state of fitness for human habitation; to amend the Building Act 1984 to make provision about the
liability for works on residential accommodation that do not comply with
Building Regulations; and for connected purposes.

Mould is one of the things they are looking to address, note it also applies to social housing, this will make Councils more likely to enforce against private landlords.

The other law that is on the way is

2. Tenant Fees Bill

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/draft-tenants-fees-bill

This bill will reduce the cost of moving, all those fake fees and double dipping where agents charge a landlord and a tenant will be gone.

Landlords will not be able to charge the fees either and they will be limited to charging 6 weeks as a security deposit.

This will improve the fluidity of the market, some Landlords will increase rents if the agents charge them more but in reality competition and market forces will most likely mean that things will stay as they are and the agents will need to get leaner n meaner.

What is interesting is that it is being administered by weights and measures, so I think there will be an appetite for giving out a fines to deter for a while. The legislation even allows them to fund a case for a tenant in certain circumstances.

It might shake out some of the dodgy landlords too, especially those who do not comply with the law.

One thing you should check is whether your Landlord has protected your deposit and FULLY served you with the prescribed information relating to that deposit. Failure to do so may render them liable to a sanction of 3x the deposit PER TENANCY and you get that sanction as well as your deposit.

As for the dodgy tenants who damage a property, the best thing to do is report them to the Council as it will impact their ability to get social housing if they effectively caused their homelessness.

There are always two sides to every story, sometimes tenants feel over entitled, sometimes Landlords give them that feeling by being too informal. At the same time there are some "professional" bad tenants and some slum landlords, luckily most are just decent people in the middle. The biggest issue I come across is poor communications on both sides.

It is tough for Landlords but it needs to be, @nige is one of the nice ones but there are a lot of Landlords who treat it as a hobby and do not take their obligations seriously.

This site has some fantastic resources for Landlords, checklists and humour too.

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emmaline 2nd February, 2018 @ 15:56

@david, that's very interesting, thank you for taking the time to respond. I hate to be a complainer, but equally if I'm handing over my hard earned cash I expect to live in a property that has been properly maintained......To be fair, although I have to confess I was pretty outraged at some of the comments regarding tenants, now I've read some of the tales of horrendous tenants I sort of understand! I couldn't be a landlord for all the tea in China!Please be aware that there are still some good tenants out there, for example my husband is a plumber so any work that needed doing on our previous rental we did, landlord happy to knock a bit of rent off. Some people, tenants and landlords, are greedy bloodsuckers, granted. I've never understood why you wouldn't take care of the place you call home? I love this house. Just needs some tlc, we've cleared the gutters once already so hopefully that will help with the mould issue.

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Emma6 2nd February, 2018 @ 18:09

Emmaline, try not to be so anti landlords. We suffer it from all directions. We get it from the tenant. In spades. We get it from the properties. I swear boilers come to Buy To Let to die. Next time I can afford to buy shares, they will be in a boiler company. They've already got most of my money. We get it from the agent, who often forgets who pays their wages and announces that they act for the tenant. We get it from the Government. Do this. Do that. Pay for this. Comply with that. If your tenant does X you're liable. If you don't do Y, the tenant cannot be evicted. I am a good landlord. I take care of my tenant and my properties. My last tenants stole £1400 of stuff from the furnished flat when they left. I tried to keep their deposit to cover my losses. I was awarded £141 of it. The rest I had to give back. Landlords come here to share OUR horror stories, because NO ONE looks out for us. Absolutely no one. Tenants get new laws and regulations all the time. All landlords get is more hassle, stress and ways of being fined. Try and see it from our point of view. If you're not happy with your accommodation, take it up with the agent, in writing, and take photos and keep a diary of events. But don't tell us here that we don't deserve one website where we get to moan for a change.

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Nige 3rd February, 2018 @ 01:35

Well said Emmaline.
2 years ago I had a good tenant on DHSS. She caught cancer and although earmarked for sale I kept her in.
One day I had a call from the council who had previously inspected the property and photographed it as it had just been totally done up. Boiler not working. Tenant in hospital. Must get boiler fixed.
So we went round and boiler was hanging off the wall !! DUH.
Tenant died 2 weeks later. Of course her estate was valueless and as the tenant she was responsible.
In the 2 weeks whilst she was in hospital her brat teenage kids wrecked the property.
Guess what. All the council photos didn't come out.Well well well.
That really cost me as her brats stayed but were not on the tenancy and DHSS stopped paying. I couldn't even claim on my insurance as police would not make a damage report because they said it would be hard to prove who did the damage.Those brats 18 and 19 yrs old were rehoused. Pity the landlord.

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Marzanna 30th March, 2018 @ 13:53

Hi,
We have a mould problem too but in our case we have moved in 1.5 months ago, and the mould started coming out 2 weeks into tenancy. And now it actually growing mould. We have noticed that it is clearly connected with weather condition - last three days were rainy and we noticed mould coming out in new spots. What now - I am 100% sure it is not our fault!

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Marzanna 30th March, 2018 @ 14:12

to David,
what if the caused of mould by drainage - that what we think is in our case - it is impossible that we caused - two weeks after we moved in - we cooked all together 10 times maybe, average temp was 20 degree. Landlord simply painted it over.

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David 31st March, 2018 @ 18:59

@Marzanna

Whilst some Landlord do "blame the victim" the fact that you have been there for such a short time does suggest there is an inherent problem with the property.

Mould grows and damp helps it spread, it can be inactive in the walls until the right conditions make the spores grow, In the US they talk about sick buildings and hold the Landlord responsible which may involve gutting a building. I have seen one such infection in the bathroom vent, it was wet and very much alive, it went through the vent piping to the exit.

There are some obvious causes that are nothing to do with your lifestyle.

They usually involve damp from windows, guttering, poorly insulated walls on aged buildings. I was talking to a Landlord on here the other day who had an suggestion from the Council to change his windows which he did and treated all the mould, but it came back and he feels it is the main building guttering and infrastructure and maybe one of his walls.

You have to involve the Council, make sure they do not just send you a leaflet, point out that it happened within a very short period of time and appears to have been painted over without dealing with the underlying problem.

The reason I mention reporting it to the Council first and not the Landlord is for two reasons, first it creates a formal record and second because is to avoid revenge eviction. If the Council issue an improvement order and the Landlord does not comply they can't evict you, even if your tenancy expires.

Having said that, I would get out of the property if it were me.

A new law is coming out that will punish Landlords who rent properties that are uninhabitable, mould is included in that. Sadly you can't wait on that.

Take photos and keep a log. Maybe consider getting a private company to do a quote for treatment of the mould, bear in mind you need to deal with the cause. They have a spray that nukes it in place, it leaves it black which has to be painted over.

Look on the outside, gutting that leaks water down the walls, damp proofing that has mould growing above the damp proof level, it may be a different colour on the outside. Windows that leak into the brickwork around the edges.

As far as what tenants can do

Open windows if drying clothes indoors
Make sure dryers have exit pipe
Turn on extractor fans or open window while cooking
Open Curtains in the day time
Make sure window ventilation bars are open at all times
Open windows to mid lock position if fitted
Make sure that there the heating is high from time to time (24 degrees)
Create a gap between furniture and walls, especially external walls.

It can be a challenge for some tenants, they tend to keep their curtains closed to stop heat escaping, they may close vents for the same reason and they may not be able to afford to heat properly. However, it is my feeling that some properties are prone to it because they have bad ventilation, poor windows, water leaks to the outside. So blaming the lifestyle of a tenant is unfair as they may only be exacerbating an underlying problem in the building.

There is little point cleaning the mould without dealing with the cause, once it has been resolved it can be washed down with thin bleach (do not breath it in). Then try to dry out the affected area, hire machines to dehumidify and then paint with watered down trade white emulsion that has anti-mould drops (from eBay), the idea here is that the walls absorb this and it becomes a barrier. Then paint the affected area with several coats of anti mould paint (£17 for a small tin). Although they sell it as a final coat you can over-paint it if you have a different colour, but definitely use eggshell finish in Kitchens and bathrooms, maybe in the other rooms, this will keep the moisture on the top of the paint, you can then open windows if you see moisture forming.

It cannot be emphasised strongly enough that you need to get to the cause before you treat it.

BTW in my experience, private landlords are better than Council/HA's at dealing with mould, the new law I mentioned will redress that.

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Marzanna 31st March, 2018 @ 19:39

to David,
Thank you for you respond, believe me or not but we are doing everything what you mentioned. My partner has a huge building experience - and he thinks ( almost 100%) that there is a problem with
drainage - I don't think the landlord will fix it as it may even cost up to 10.000 . Probably we will have to move out, and he will paint it over and cheat another tenant.
As for the mould - it is growing exponentially, it't a wet wall up to may be 50 cm, the mould has started getting meshed. In my last place after 5 years of living we did not have such a mould as here after 1 month. We have notice that after days of raining it's expanding very fast. Temp inside is around 20 C. We have a lot of condensation so the windows are opened as well.
To sum up - the most important - how to stop this landlord from cheating another tenants.

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Elvis Oceguera 13th April, 2018 @ 22:33

How can I report mold on my house and landlord does nothing about it

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