Disrepair or condensation dampness

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    Disrepair or condensation dampness

    Excellent article from Anthony Gold Solicitors Disrepair or damp
    Vic - wicked landlord
    Any advice or suggestions given in my posts are intended for guidance only and not a substitute for completing full searches on this forum, having regard to the advice of others, or seeking appropriate professional opinion.
    Without Plain English Codes of Practice and easy to complete Prescribed Forms the current law is too complex and is thus neither fair to good tenants nor good landlords.

    #2
    Originally posted by Worldlife
    Excellent article from Anthony Gold Solicitors Disrepair or damp
    I am aware of both of the case's mentioned.I would however point out that many experts are EHO'S who have limited knowledge of building technology. As both an EHO and Building Surveyor I tend to draw a balance.Most case's of damp are i.e condensation related and as I mentioned in an earlier thread that calcium carbide test's are the only sure fire diagnosis.On the other hand an EHO would use the EPA with the emphsis on the being of prediciual to health. What I find with a majority of expert's are that their evidence is very loose and this is why housing law is a minefield.
    Disclaimer:I have over 30 years experience in housing(both social and private) as an EHO and Building Surveyor.I am also a certified expert witness having spent the last 15years working in housing litigation.The advice I give is from experience in working for various Local Authorities and how the law is interpretated.Housing Law is a minefield and is continually being amended if in any doubt you should consult a solicitor or someone of equal legal standing.

    Comment


      #3
      This is an excellent piece about the problem:
      http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/pdf/Mould.pdf

      Comment


        #4
        Eric I agree that the article that you linked to ( "Dampness, condensaton and mould in rental properties" by the Editor of LandlordZone ) provides a superb overall analysis.

        pms I am wondering if you might agree that in a serious dispute that if the onus of proof is on the landord to show condensation then we should look at the following major factors as set out in the LandlordZone article
        1. Condensation from high relative humidity in the air
        2. Too much water vapour or steam generated through cooking
        3. Washing, bathing, showering and clothes drying which is allowed to travel throughout the house
        4. Inadequate ventilation
        5. Inadequate heating
        6. Inadequate cleaning and drying after major leaks and burst pipes or floods


        Most of these items are related to the occupation of the property rather than the state of repair of the dwelling.

        In my view the first steps a landlord may wish to take to prove condensation as distinct from structural dampness will be have evidence as to when the dampness was reported and when it occurs.


        Is the dampness mainly over the winter period or is it there all the time?
        Does the dampness worsen after periods of heavy rain?
        Are previous tenants able and willing to provide evidence that there was no mould growth or condensation problems during their occupation.
        Can the landlord state there have been no previous complaints about dampness at the property?
        Does the tenant work and leave the heating off throughout the day?
        What procedures does the tenant follow when carrying out the above listed activities
        What evidence (from bills) can the tenant provide to show that the property is being adequately heated?
        Can the landlord provide evidence of wall temperatures, air temperatures and relative humidity?

        Such investigations would need to be conducted thoroughly.

        The landlord could arrange for damp meter readings to be taken to indicate that there was no significant structural dampness such as penetrating or rising dampness.

        pms do you have any information as to the number of cases where the calcium carbide test has revealed rising dampness that has not been detected by the use of a dampness meter?

        From a landlords point of view a negative calcium carbide test will not prove condensation but merely that the fabric of the building , in the limited area of the core reading, is dry (except maybe in the rare cases of interstitial condensation)

        I'm not sure how accurate the calcium carbide test would be in differentiating between dampness of underlying brickwork or dampness of plaster due to efflorescent salts.

        I'm not sure that a landlord needs to provide a full structural survey to eliminate structural dampess when adequate evidence is provided to prove condensation problems.

        Maybe if the tenant would wish to prove that there is structural dampness then the onus of proof should be on the tenant (perhaps via a complaint to the Environmental Health Department).
        Vic - wicked landlord
        Any advice or suggestions given in my posts are intended for guidance only and not a substitute for completing full searches on this forum, having regard to the advice of others, or seeking appropriate professional opinion.
        Without Plain English Codes of Practice and easy to complete Prescribed Forms the current law is too complex and is thus neither fair to good tenants nor good landlords.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Worldlife
          Eric I agree that the article that you linked to ( "Dampness, condensaton and mould in rental properties" by the Editor of LandlordZone ) provides a superb overall analysis.

          pms I am wondering if you might agree that in a serious dispute that if the onus of proof is on the landord to show condensation then we should look at the following major factors as set out in the LandlordZone article
          1. Condensation from high relative humidity in the air
          2. Too much water vapour or steam generated through cooking
          3. Washing, bathing, showering and clothes drying which is allowed to travel throughout the house
          4. Inadequate ventilation
          5. Inadequate heating
          6. Inadequate cleaning and drying after major leaks and burst pipes or floods


          Most of these items are related to the occupation of the property rather than the state of repair of the dwelling.

          In my view the first steps a landlord may wish to take to prove condensation as distinct from structural dampness will be have evidence as to when the dampness was reported and when it occurs.


          Is the dampness mainly over the winter period or is it there all the time?
          Does the dampness worsen after periods of heavy rain?
          Are previous tenants able and willing to provide evidence that there was no mould growth or condensation problems during their occupation.
          Can the landlord state there have been no previous complaints about dampness at the property?
          Does the tenant work and leave the heating off throughout the day?
          What procedures does the tenant follow when carrying out the above listed activities
          What evidence (from bills) can the tenant provide to show that the property is being adequately heated?
          Can the landlord provide evidence of wall temperatures, air temperatures and relative humidity?

          Such investigations would need to be conducted thoroughly.

          The landlord could arrange for damp meter readings to be taken to indicate that there was no significant structural dampness such as penetrating or rising dampness.

          pms do you have any information as to the number of cases where the calcium carbide test has revealed rising dampness that has not been detected by the use of a dampness meter?

          From a landlords point of view a negative calcium carbide test will not prove condensation but merely that the fabric of the building , in the limited area of the core reading, is dry (except maybe in the rare cases of interstitial condensation)

          I'm not sure how accurate the calcium carbide test would be in differentiating between dampness of underlying brickwork or dampness of plaster due to efflorescent salts.

          I'm not sure that a landlord needs to provide a full structural survey to eliminate structural dampess when adequate evidence is provided to prove condensation problems.

          Maybe if the tenant would wish to prove that there is structural dampness then the onus of proof should be on the tenant (perhaps via a complaint to the Environmental Health Department).
          Worldlife: In a serious dispute then a full investigation of the property would be carried out.As an expert I would have to be impartial to both the Landlord and tenant and would have to take all the factors into consideration then come to a conclusion.If the landlord is at fault in some way then it would go in a report likewise if a tenant is to blame it would go into a report.I dont dispute that condensation accounts for a good 75% of case's that I handle but you must also realize the cases where a landlord has had for example an overflow soaking the wall for six months and done nothing about it.Too the point that you make on CC test's in a nutshell a cc test will prove that there is or is not moisture in the structure.A negative reading will indicate condensation associated with tenant lifestyle.Testing for RH over 65% would be the icing on the cake as this is the point where mould strives.
          Disclaimer:I have over 30 years experience in housing(both social and private) as an EHO and Building Surveyor.I am also a certified expert witness having spent the last 15years working in housing litigation.The advice I give is from experience in working for various Local Authorities and how the law is interpretated.Housing Law is a minefield and is continually being amended if in any doubt you should consult a solicitor or someone of equal legal standing.

          Comment


            #6
            pms I note you state:-

            As an expert I would have to be impartial to both the Landlord and tenant and would have to take all the factors into consideration
            I can see that such a comprehensive report would be necessary if both landlord and tenant were relying on you as a neutral expert.

            You are instructed by a landlord to investigate a problem of seasonal dampness reported by the tenant.

            The landlord has provided evidence that there was not a mould growth problem before the occupation of the current tenant. Numerous comparative surface readings of a professional grade damp meter show that moisture readings and mould growth were highest in a bedroom with three external cavity brick walls and there was a differential between the external and internal walls. Damp meter readings are normal in the living room where there is a flued gas fire and this room is kept warmer than the other rooms.

            Probe readings of a damp meter below the plaster indicate the levels of moisture in the brickwork are normal.

            This is a modern property with damp proof courses to floors and walls and the property is well maintained with no apparant defects to the roof, rain water services or windows and doors.

            Would appreciate an answer to my question in a previous thread of how many calcium carbide tests would you take and what variations would you expect between each testing point?

            As landlord I have no reason to suspect rising dampness and feel that if the tenant is alleging structural dampness it will be his responsibility to prove the existence of such dampness in face of overwhelming evidence that the issue concerns condensation dampness

            I'm not sure of the relevance of a few calcium carbide tests as they will only show the degree of dampness at the point they are taken and the landlord would object to the damage caused by multiple readings.
            Vic - wicked landlord
            Any advice or suggestions given in my posts are intended for guidance only and not a substitute for completing full searches on this forum, having regard to the advice of others, or seeking appropriate professional opinion.
            Without Plain English Codes of Practice and easy to complete Prescribed Forms the current law is too complex and is thus neither fair to good tenants nor good landlords.

            Comment

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