Mould is one of the most common tenant complaints and if it’s not dealt with as quickly as possible, it can get much worse and cause health problems, especially among children.
Potential health issues can include allergic reactions and asthma and no landlord wants their tenants to become ill, so it’s vital that you address the problem and that you help your tenants to keep the mould at bay in the future.
What can you as the landlord do about mould?
Conducting property inspections at regular intervals is important because you can identify any structural issues that might be leading to mould – such as a leaky pipe or a missing roof tile. If you can fix these problems earlier rather than later, you’ll probably stop the mould in its tracks.
It’s also your legal duty, under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, to fix any structural issues that are causing damp or mould.
Regular inspections can also pick up any habits the tenants have that might promote damp and mould. For example, drying clothes indoors without opening windows, or not ventilating the bathroom after a shower.
Advising your tenants about preventing mould
Your tenants and you are in it together in the war on mould. They need to be aware that the way they use your property could prevent mould and that they should make sure they’re minimising the amount of condensation that builds up in the property.
You should advise your tenants to:
– Cover saucepans with lids when cooking so that the amount of steam escaping into the air is minimised (this also reduces the amount of fuel they use to cook!)
– Dry clothes outdoors as much as possible and if there’s no outdoor space, to use an airer in the bathroom with the window open or the extractor fan on,
– Always open the bathroom window after a bath or shower, or use the extractor fan, and keep the bathroom door closed so steam doesn’t escape into the rest of the property,
– Try to maintain a consistent temperature in the property so that the walls don’t become cold, which can easily lead to damp, and
– Avoid placing furniture right up against external walls as this can impede air circulation and promote mould behind the furniture.
Your tenants should contact you or the letting agent ASAP if they see any mould or damp, as the sooner it’s treated, the less likely it is to return. Once your tenants contact you about mould, you must respond within 14 days and inspect the property. Make sure you record all correspondence, including phone calls, as well as details of all the steps taken to deal with the mould.