Rising damp and mould problems

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    Rising damp and mould problems

    Hi i moved into a house in july with my partner 3 children and my mother. It was to be a dream move for us as it has land and we were able to take our horses. For this we paid £950 a month including rates.

    We have spent around £2000 putting electric fence in and stables etc as agreed by landlord.

    In august we had a problem with damp on a ceiling causing black mould. This was sorted out right away. However i was concerned as in the summer every window in my house is open during the day.

    Then in september i started to notice a bit of mould in my bedroom from the ground up. I also noticed a smell on some clothing coming out of wardrobes. I reported this to the letting agent who came to check it out and stated it was very bad and would cost thousands to fix. He said the landlord was skint so probably wouldnt fix it.

    The landlord came back and said he would let me out of the contract but not for two months over dec and jan. I said this was not acceptable as it was a health risk. By this stage nearly every room in the house is affected. The house smells mouldy, my entire bedroom wall has green and black mould on it and salt leeking out of the wall. My baby was constantlt ill and i became depressed partly because of the stress of it all. Also the house was also freezing. It cost me 350 quid a month to heat yet the house was cold all the time.

    The landlord came out and as soon as he saw the problem he released us from the conyract. So now i have had to pack up and move - at my expense.

    The whole thing is causing me great stress. I have a feeling that the letting agent will make it difficult for me to get my money back. They owe me three weeks rent and a double deposit of £1250 they have informed me that they have inspected the house and theres a dog smell in three rooms.

    I personally cleaned the house and can say it does not smell of dog. It smells of mould. Any advise as my stress levels are through the roof. Thanks.
    Last edited by Rachael23; 14-12-2012, 17:50 PM. Reason: Paragraphs

    Hi Rachael, do you mind editing your post into paragraphs?
    Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong


      Please confirm that you are now out of the house and have given the keys back to the agent, or not.
      All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

      * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * *

      You can search the forums here:


        The keys have been handed back, however ive been told to collect the keys and sort out the smell. The smell only went away after we moved in because i had air fresheners every where.

        I should add that a lot of my clothes and my bedroom furniture were covered in mould. I have taken pictures of most things and have pictures of the state of the mould as we left.


          Advice on condensation
          Problems caused by mildew

          Mildew is a common problem in the form of black mould patches that grow on walls and shower curtains and around window frames. It is also inclined to grow in areas of poor air circulation due to furniture placed close to walls. Mould growth can damage paintwork & curtains. It can even penetrate plaster.
          It forms when there is a high moisture content in air which then condenses on cold surfaces such as the inside surfaces of outside walls.

          Moisture in the air is water in it's invisible gaseous state. It comes from a number of sources. In for example a 2 person household there is about 4 litres of water put into the air every day.

          Breathing (asleep) 0.12 litres
          Breathing (awake) 0.35 litres
          Cooking 1.2 litres
          Personal washing 0.4 litres
          Washing and drying clothes 2 litres

          Ways to avoid mildew:

          1) Regularly air the flat by leaving windows open even just a small amount. This is essential to permit moisture to escape.
          2) Open the bathroom window and close the bathroom door during and after showering or bathing.
          3) Open the kitchen window and close the kitchen door during and after cooking.
          4) Heat the flat sufficiently.
          5) Avoid drying clothes in the flat as it is a major source of moisture.
          If no alternative, keep door shut & open window.
          6) Permit air to circulate around the walls by not placing furniture and other objects close to the walls.
          7) Leave window trickle vents open where fitted.
          8) Always turn on extractors where fitted

          The difference between condensation, rising damp & damp penetrating walls from outside.
          The following information was provided to me by a chartered surveyor from F&S property management. He said from Oct to April when the damp cold whether is here they get approximately 200 calls each year from residents of various properties they manage who are concerned about dampness problems. The overwhelming majority of cases are due to condensation.

          It is understandable that people sometimes believe mildew & damp is due to a fault in the building such as rising damp or damp penetrating the walls from outside. Water vapour is invisible so it may be hard for people to appreciate that the damp on walls & windows is due to something that is air born & comes from their activities. Example, you might cook something in the kitchen & the invisible water vapour will creep into the bedroom & cause condensation there.

          The presence of mould is evidence that the damp is not due to a fault in the building as the mould organism can only survive on pure water. Rising damp or damp penetrating from outside walls brings salts from the brickwork, block work & plaster. Mould is unable to grow in the presence of these salts. Symptoms of rising damp or damp penetrating from outside are clear wet/damp patches with no mildew and a brown edge to the patch where the salts are deposited.
          It is the responsibility of the managing agent of the block to deal with such cases if there a fault in the building.
          If mould is present then the damp is due to condensation & is the responsibility of the tenant to manage. If the above measures do not completely solve the problem then it's worth considering purchasing a dehumidifier. They have water collection tanks of about 3 litres & it's not unusual to see the tank fill up each day.


            That is all very interesting but not terribly relevant to OP's situation. The LL seems to agree it is not OP's fault, hence his willingness to release her early from her tenancy.

            What she wants to know is where she stands with regard to getting her deposit back.

            OP, simply claim it back from the deposit scheme where it has been protected. It will be up to the LL to prove it smelt of dog when you left. Smells are notoriously hard to prove. You stand a good chance of the adjudicator rejecting the LL's claim.

            Can we assume you have written proof that the LL has allowed you an early surrender?
            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


              It is definately caused by a problem with the building. The mould is not how ive ever seen it if due to condensation alone. The very fact the letting agent stated it was going to cost thousands to fix also shows that. It is not correct to say mould cant grow when there is salt leaking from the walls as we haf massive deposits of salt right beside the mould. Sure enough there was no mould where the salt was but they were side by side on the same wall.

              Unfortunately i live in northern ireland and we have no deposit protection scheme.

              I have spoken to a few people who have been in my house who dont own pets and they have said they never smelt dog in the house. Also the place where the estate agent says they smell it the dog was not allowed to go.

              I believe they are stalling me as they owe me nearly 500 for this months rent plus my double deposit.

              I would like to add that the last rental house i moved from the landlord said i was the first tenant who had cleaned the house to such a high standard that he was not calling in professional cleaners. The house i have just had to leave was cleaner on hand over than when i moved in.

              I am considering calling the environmental health officer and now feel i should have done this in the beginning as it would then possibly have been partly theie responsibility to rehouse me?

              Thanks for all feed back so far.


                Originally posted by Rachael23 View Post
                i live in northern ireland
                This is the first bit of information that you should have given.

                The advice we give in this forum is for England and Wales. So please ignore all of the advice that you have previoulsy been given.

                The link below is advice for Northern Ireland.



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