Mold in the loft

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    Mold in the loft

    Hi everyone,
    Wonder if anyone can offer any advice.
    I was lucky to be offered a new build house through a Housing Association last year. The House was built by Taylor Wimpey and signed off in March 2020.
    I moved in July 2020. I was never shown the house before hand due to the pandemic and was never shown around or spoken to by a representative when I moved in, simply turned up and door was unlocked and keys in the kitchen.
    I do have a tenancy agreement through the Housing Association. This is the only mention of the loft in the agreement:

    Please note that 'your home' does not include the loft, cellar or any other shared areas.

    I have several concerns...

    When moving in with my 2 children we had many boxes of belongings that had been stored in the loft in our previous house. In these boxes are things like Photos, Baby items, Certificates, Electrical items like lamps/fans etc that were not being used... just the normal things people store.
    I am 36 years old and dont consider myself to be naive and assumed the house is mine to use and I therefore put all my boxes up in the loft. There is a loft hatch in the children's bedroom and a double electric socket up there for a light. I see now that I may not have understood the tenancy agreement, im not sure if that sentence means I cannot store things in the loft or it just means that it is not my property, im not sure.

    Anyway, fast forward to just after Christmas. I went to put a few more black sacks up there, Christmas decorations mostly... when opening the hatch I had water drip on me, I thought that was odd and realized how much condensation was up there... I went to move a cardboard box and the box literally fell apart it was so wet and my photos were all stuck together and moldy.
    I saw there was mold growing on the roof rafters.
    I was thoroughly shocked, not what you would expect from a house only 6 months old surely?!
    I called my Housing Association and reported the issue. It has been chased up several times with Taylor Wimpey and finally someone came out today to look at the roof.

    The roofer took one look inside the hatch and said its a condensation problem. He said that they now build the houses with vents in the fascia and vents at the top for air circulation... He said that there have been several people report the same issue so Taylor Wimpey are going around retro-fitting double size vents in the houses, 'but you wont get it done now, they will wait till Winter when its actually a problem' .

    I asked if the mold in the wooden roof rafters was an issue and if it would affect the roof, he said well eventually, maybe in like 10yrs. So in 10yrs the roof will be rotten and covered in mold?! And thats ok?
    Surely to have condensation in the loft is not good, can it not track down to create a damp problem in the house?
    There is a double electric socket up there, surely with a condensation issue that is dangerous?!

    Where would i stand with all my stuff that was ruined? Surely its normal to assume you can store boxes in the loft in a brand new house?!

    Im not sure what to do next, or what i can actually do. Im just not happy knowing the area above my childrens bedroom is moldy and will potentially get worse and nobody really cares that all my belongings were ruined.

    Thanks for listening.

    #2

    Comment


      #3
      Contact your housing association and inform them, they in turn will contact the developer as there would be a 5 year guarantee on the property.

      Comment


        #4
        I have, i reported it several times in the last 3 months and they reported to Taylor Wimpey who sent a roofer today.
        But what i wanted to know is who is responsible for the ruined items i had in the loft?
        Is it normal to have mold in a 6 month old loft?
        The roofer said that taylor wimpey might retro fit some bigger vents but it wont be done until its a problem in the winter... not really good enough.
        Im just wondering if im going mad, people dont seem to be concerned its a new build with mold and apparently thats ok?

        Comment


          #5
          Problems with new builds are so common that no one is at all surprised.

          I'm intruiged by the idea that the loft is somehow excluded from your home.
          It seems an odd bit of wording - normally a loft wouldn't be a "shared area" other than in a shared house.
          I'd have expected the loft to have been part of the property you are renting, and, as far as I can see, in that case the landlord would be, at least partially, responsible for your loss.

          If they can successfully argue that the loft is excluded - despite the odd wording, that does seem to be the intention (otherwise it doesn't seem to have any reason to be there) - you're responsible for the damage because you put things where they're not supposed to be.
          When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
          Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

          Comment


            #6
            Perhaps they did not want people to store items in the loft as it reduced the amount of air space left to circulate?

            Surely, it doesn't really matter why the clause was put in the AST - just the fact that it clearly states the Tenant cannot include the loft as part of their home.

            Be interesting if the builder or landlord held the tenant responsible for contributing to the problem rather than awarding compo for the items damaged.

            Comment


              #7
              You need to follow the HA formal complaints process ending with the Housing Ombudsman. Do everything in writing not over the phone. Essentially your complaint is the damage to your chattels and the work not being prioritised. Usually mention of the ombudsman gets things moving.

              Comment


                #8
                If you were told you couldn't store items in the loft then I don't think you can claim anything for damages.

                I don't know why you can't store items up there, but it might be due to insulation, air circulation, or electric wires which might make it unsafe.

                I wonder how so much water is getting up there in the first place. You should certainly report it. It's poor workmanship and there should be air vents put in that are big enough to allow the correct amount of air to circulate.

                Comment


                  #9
                  See when i read the tenancy agreement I read the part that says the loft isnt deemed my home but what i assumed it meant was that i cant live in it, meaning i cant change it to a bedroom....
                  I have called about this issue a few times and each time i told the HA about my ruined boxes in the loft they havent once told me i shouldnt have stuff up there. you would just assume you can use it for storage right? I mean it does have a loft hatch with a sticker on telling you how to open it?! lol

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I had a damp problem with a 1900 terraced property and called in a damp engineer. On arrival at the door he said that he had just been to a new build property with damp in the roof space and commented that my property was built over 100 years ago and would probably last another 100. the implication was that the new properties have problems almost at once.
                    Any hot air that escapes into the roof will condense on the coldest surface and in this case it is in the roof( or your stored items). It needs ventilation to remove it. I am sure that this is known in the building industry.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Leaving the usage to one side - the amount of damp in your loft sounds unacceptable and is almost certainly the direct result of lack of ventilation in the loft space.

                      You need to press your HA to get the builder to resolve this - and do this politely by letter or email

                      Out of interest, how much insulation is there in the loft in contact with the ceiling below?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I wonder if the extractor fans from the bathroom etc are vented into the loft space. That might be contributing to the damp.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Berlingogirl View Post

                          I wonder if the extractor fans from the bathroom etc are vented into the loft space. That might be contributing to the damp.
                          if that’s the case then that would be breaking a building regulations as they have to vent outside - BUT a common sight in my experience

                          Comment


                            #14
                            the flume for the extractor is fine and goes outside.
                            There is about 10 inches of insulation up there which is laid on the ceiling joists. There is nothing on the roof, its just lined.
                            Apparently they have vents in the fascia and a vent in the roof so it should come in down the bottom and out at the top but apparently Taylor Wimpey are retro fitting bigger vents to people that have issues, so its not just me.

                            I sent an email yesterday to Taylor Wimpey who built it as the house is under new build warranty but they dont want to know, told me to contact HA. So i also emailed HA and waiting for a reply.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I was told that if you compress thick layers of loft insulation by putting boxes or boards on top of them, your ceiling plaster is likely to crack. That may be one reason why the HA don't want you to use it.

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