More DPS issues amongst others

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    More DPS issues amongst others

    Hi, I'm a newbie on here but I need some advice. I'm a landlord and tenant so have been on both sides before!
    Anyway, last May we took on a 12 month tenancy of a property. We signed the agreement (which we now notice actually has april 2001 as the date on it!) quite a while before we moved in as it took a lot longer for the house to be ready for us than expected. We paid the deposit by cheque which was banked immediately but they took 6 weeks to protect it.
    Anyway, back in February we had serious mould issues. The house is about 120 years old, single skinned, no roof insulation and crap double glazing so not big surprise there. Every room had black mould in it even though we kept it ventilated and clean (not talking behind just behind wardrobes and in bathrooms here). Our baby son was hospitalised 4 times with serious resp infections in that time which the drs confirmed were probably due to the mould. We called the landlord who did nothing to return our calls so contacted EH who got hold of her. I told her we weren't prepared to stay there until it was sorted given son's health and so wouldn't be paying rent for time being. She was ok about it.
    Roll on a week, I was at my parents over the road (stayed there but belongings still in house) when I noticed they were in the house. No notice, no warning, nothing.
    I asked why she hadn't let us know she was coming to which she replied 'oh we thought we'd surprise you'!!
    They then bleached all the walls and accused us of 'having the heating on' (when it was -14oC outside). of course EH came out and she'd already wiped all the mould down so you couldn't see it (we have photos though).
    We mutually agreed we would move out and paid a weeks rent to give us time to get organized.
    Anyway, they won't return the deposit and say we owe 2 weeks rent. So we put in another claim for half deposit but they won't even pay us that now.
    Is it worth arguing the case given their many c*ck ups?
    DPS said to pay them 2 weeks rent then try again but reluctant to risk losing anymore money to be frank.
    Sorry for lengthy post!

    What will it cost you to argue the case?
    Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong


      I am sorry but you probably will not like what I am about to say.

      The mould you mention is caused by a few things
      1. The people who live in the house
      2. Lack of ventilation
      3. There is a water leak of some sort

      4. In balance or lack of hot and cold air in the property

      From what you mentioned the water is leak is not the problem as you have it in all rooms but you have a lack of ventilation and inbalance of heat in relation to cold air.

      Also you post makes no sense we are in the middle of summer where do you live where it is -14c??

      Note that condensation which can cause mould, is caused by poor insulation and ventalation but in most cases it is caused by the people who live in it. Simple things like keeping a balance of heating in relation to cold air prevents condensation which leads to mould. Opening windows when having a bath and closing doors helps and so on. I would ask your landlord to put some air bircks in where the cold spots are this will help.

      I think you will find it hard to argue this with DPS, simple facts mould appears when there is to much water in the air or there is a leak somewhere. The landlord didn’t create the damp conditions. I would also check your AST, most of AST have something that will state the T has the responsibility to keep the property ventilate.

      Your landlord was wrong to enter the property with out giving notice but they have cleaned the mould.

      Your landlord from the sounds of things has an issue not about the mould but you didnt pay the rent, did you get this agreement in writting that while you moved out you wouldnt be paying rent. If not then its your word against the LL, in front of the DPS you would appear to have not paid the rent, this is why they suggested what they did.

      Out of all of this I would not be worried about the mould but more worried about your LL lack of responsability and attitude, most LL are good people have you had issues in the past with the LL, what is your history with the LL? It is quite serious for EH to become involved.

      I suggest you move out, give your months notice.


        terrible mould problems

        Single skin brickwork and double glazed windows - a botched combination of ever there was - and certainly made worse if the fire place was blocked up or the chimney removed!

        (Incidentally, we had a posting on here a few days ago from someone who thought it would be an improvement to remove a chimney flue. Your story is a reminder of the use of a chimney : WORKING fireplaces would have helped carry off the water vapour laden air up the flue rather than have it condensing on the walls)

        It is a fact as you say that your son was hospitalised and if you can lay your hands on evidence to that effect you might be able to get some legal ambulance-chaser to launch proceedings, probably legally aided against the landlord on your son's behalf for damages, etc.

        As an aside, I'd be interested to know whether legal aid would still be available for a case such as this!! The prospect of litigating against a legally aided minor is so weighted against the defendant that any landlord in such a position would be firmly advised by his brief to offer to settle; at the very lease pay a couple of thousand pounds into court rather than go on with litigation that could easily cost ten times that figure should both sides have counsel and desire to call expert witnesses....

        In real life of course, last winter was so cold that just about all solid walled homes suffered from some condensation issues, and your then landlords weren't entirely to blame...

        The lesson for other landlords is to keep pouring more and more money into insulation of your letting stock. There are now two flexible internal insulation systems to use in solid walled houses; one goes on like wallpaper; the other needs to be skimmed over. Unfortunately grant funding isnt really available for this but you can write off £1500 against income (or as appropriate Corporation tax if you own properties in a Limited Company) against upgrading your insulation and it will make a massive difference to tenant satisfaction and is a really worthwhile adaptation to put in place where you have, for example old cottages with solid walls that are difficult to heat and otherwise prone to condensation, which in turn leads to mould and then rot. This scheme, called the Landlord's Energy Saving Allowance will not be with us for ever, I can only suggest that landlords make full use of it to improve ambient temperatures in dwellings before it gets scrapped.


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