Mould,Tenant,and responsibility.

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    Mould,Tenant,and responsibility.

    Although I have been visiting the site this is my first post.So please forgive me if this has already been asked and answered.
    The situation was this.
    1) The tenant moved into the place about two months before any problems occurred.
    2) In January, the tenant reported there was a leak and the agency sent a roofer out to inspect and repair the roof.However due to the extreme weather the roofer could not go onto the roof safely as it was covered in snow. Eventually, he managed to visit the property,inspect the roof, and recommended repairs which I authorised to be done asap. However on an internal inspection the place had a lot of mould in the property and we initially thought it was due to the roof possibly leaking as reported by the tenant.
    To clarify,the property has never had any problems with mould ever, and was inspected 4 months prior and all was clean.The tennant inspected the flat two weeks before moving in, and on entry, and all was clean and safe.
    3 At the same time I contacted my insurance company to lodge a claim, for the mould, which they declined because they said the damage occurred over a period of time and was not due to one significant incident related to the weather. (due to the extreme weather and the insurance case worker taking his time this took about a month). So i couldn't authorise a company to do any work.
    As a result I instructed the letting agency that I wanted this sorted asap, A) because I don't want an legal problems, B) because they have a child.C)I am aware of the implications of mould. D) As soon as we found the mould, We asked the tenant to clean the place, and they refused sighting "they didn't like the chemicals" so we recommended them to clean the place as per the local councils advise. ( as a side note it would appear the tenant has done not cleaning at all regarding mould and did not contact us that anything was there.
    Anyway the letting agency couldn't get anyone to clean the mould, So I( instead of the letting agency) organised 2 quotes for cleaning the flat, because the letting agency said they couldn't get anyone to do it.
    The 2 companies I asked, took 2 weeks to get back to me, and I was prepared to authorise the work when my letting agency said we should get a report done which I authorised.
    This took another week to do, and another week to get the report.
    The report said there is no damp in the walls, but there is a lot of moisture in the air and recommended a vetalation system.
    This seems to confirm what the insurance company thinks that this is not due to a single even, but possibly due their life style.we all seem to be of the mind that there is already a great ventilation system in the property called windows, and that since there has never been a problem before, it is probably a life style problem, rather than a structural problem and that the tenant let it get into this state.

    The letting agent visited and found the place to be a like a sauna with no windows open to let out any moisture.
    The tradesman said it needed more ventilation, but the tenant has refused to open the windows even though there was considerable moisture around the windows and in the air, and they are using the rooms to dry their laundry.

    Further more the tenant said it is my responsibility to clean it and they are worried about their child's health. (Which is why I initially wanted this cleaned asap, and told the letting agency as such, but the tradesmen, reports, insurance, letting agencies all have their own schedules).
    Anyway, I am wondering why, if they were so worried why A) they never informed me/letting agency of any mould asap and let it fall into such a state. B) if they were worried about the mould why they didn't clean anything at all/or let the agency know as soon as they saw mould. C) Refuse to clean and ventilate the property as asked by the letting agency when drying their laundry. They wouldn't even clean it as per the local councils advice
    This amount of mould, could easily be cleaned in the first place but they let it get into such an extreme state of affair, we are convinced that they just let it grow and grow to the point that they can't clean it now and it will need professional cleaning costing thousands.

    I just wondered if anyone has any advice, as I wanted to jump on this asap, and told the letting agency to fix this.

    I am very happy to fix the place up, but I feel that the situation between myself and the tenant is probably compromised, and from the evidence collected, they have done nothing to look after the property. So we are thinking it might be better to let them go with two months notice.

    I do have one important question though.... how long is a reasonable time for work to be done? and any legal implications?

    Thank you in advance.

    #2
    Just forget about letting anywhere in Scotland. The weather is miserable making tenants reluctant to ventilate and anti landlord laws are very strong.

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you for your reply. I have been renting this out for many years now, and it would be such a shame to sell the place just because of one family. I have always taken the long term view to letting, and we have always tried to make the tenant comfortable.No questions asked.So I do want to be responsible. But I do take your point. People will never look after the place as well as if it was their own. But on saying that I have had some great tenants.

      Comment


        #4
        This will not end happily. Is this SaT it PRT? I'd seriously consider eviction.

        What were references from previous landlords like?
        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

        Comment


          #5
          Thank you for your reply. This ending badly is my concern, but I have asked the letting agency to sort this out ASAP. It is PRT. The previous references appeared ok, however I usually take any references with a grain of salt, as a landlord may just wish to move someone on, and the references mostly referred to earnings, previous rent being payed on time, and no complaints. family history, immigrant status, and employers references.
          Nothing that would set alarm bells off.
          I thought with them having a young child they would look after the place but clearly thats not the case.
          We are considering giving them notice, wether we sort this out or not.
          I am a great believer in past behaviour is probably a good indication of future behaviour and I would rather get them out, loose a couple of months rent, clean the place up, and re-advertise. I just don't want to clean this place up, and for them to continue living this way, take no responsibility for the property or their health and then try to blame the landlord. When all reports seem to point to their way of life causing the mould problem.

          We are certainly in agreement in eviction being the best choice for all concerned.


          Just out of curiosity,

          Would it be best to fix the place up now? or leave it until they leave?

          Two points of concern, 1) clean the place up now, then I can be assured I've looked after the place for their health and safety ,even though they've caused the problem but the problem returns before they are evicted with the result I've gotta go through the whole process again.

          or 2 Wait until they are OUT, fix the place up. But that leaves the place with mould for 2 months and I'd worry about the legal implications (if any).
          Personally, I have to wonder when tenants have to take legal responsibility for their own life style, and health and safety. (Cause, I am happy to make sure I take my responsibilities seriously)

          Letting agency suggests waiting until they are out.

          Comment


            #6
            They don't have to leave. Why do you think they will leave? As long as they keep paying the rent you have no easy way of evicting other than moving in & using new PRT ground 4 - see...
            https://scotland.shelter.org.uk/get_...enancy_tenants

            In your shoes I would (attempt to ...) install permanent forced ventilation e.g. Envirovent
            https://www.envirovent.com/
            - plus dehumidifiers e.g.
            https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pro-Breeze-.../dp/B077GZ3TVS


            - and give tenant written instruction on how to use, cleaning, etc etc etc...

            (so you can explain to Sheriff/Council you have taken reasonable steps...)

            I am in a position to (realistically and believably) issue g4 and then move in: Are you?

            Or try bribery.

            Black mould can be very nasty. Especially for small children. I happen to be a no-unfit 70-yr old into hill walking but found, after moving back into a property with damp/leak issues and black mould (genuinely mushrooms growing under bath..) i could hardly walk up a gentle slope a week later.
            I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

            Comment


              #7
              Interesting news about keen Englerlish landlords increasingly renting out on Scotland....
              http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/e...s-in-scotland/
              I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

              Comment


                #8
                Well you are right, they don't have to leave.But under the previous rules,(not the new rules which just came into force because they signed the lease before the new rules comes in) the leasing agency said they can be given two months notice to leave, because they signed before the changes came into force.
                If we were to look at the new system then we could consider possibly number 11. E.G Not cleaning.not ventilating the property, and continually drying laundry in the rooms, causing the moisture to build up, which is part of the tenancy agreement. E.G cleaning the inside of the property. Ground 11: Breach of tenancy agreement


                A discretionary ground When a tenancy condition (other than payment of rent) has been broken, the landlord may use this ground. This could refer to situations such as the behaviour of the tenant.

                The tribunal may make an order for eviction where:
                • The tenant has failed to comply with an obligation of the lease other than paying rent, and
                • the tribunal considers it reasonable to evict on account of this

                I am also wondering if Ground 3: Landlord intends to refurbish


                A mandatory ground. This ground can be used where the landlord wants to carry out significant works to the property.

                An order for eviction must be made if:
                • The landlord intends to refurbish the property (or any premises of which the property forms part of)
                • The landlord is entitled to do the work
                • the tenant can't continue to live in the property due to the nature of the refurbishments.

                Evidence of this could include:
                • Planning permission for the intended refurbishment
                • A contract between the landlord and an architect or builder which relates to the proposed work.
                In this case I would think this is significant as this could pose a health risk and we don't want anyone to become ill.


                Your totally right.
                We have considered
                A) forced ventilation,
                B)dehumidifier,
                C)Even tumble drier with a dehumidifier to trap any water from the laundry.
                D) Painting with anti mould paint.
                Further more, as soon as this problem was reported to the letting agency they gave written instructions on what to do. However the tenant refused saying, they don't want to do it because of the recommend chemical cleaning agent.
                We gave the alternative which the local government recommends.
                Again the tenant has refused to do any cleaning.

                However surely there has to be a point that even if the landlord has done everything, the tenant has to change their behaviour. Anyway the tenant has said their peace to the letting agency and they have asked if I am not prepared to resolve the issue then they wish to move out.I am willing to resolve this but we are of the view their past behaviour is a predictor of their future behaviour because they have not heeded any advice given to them.

                Personally I would be happy for them to move out.
                1) I would be able to fix the place up
                2) they would be happy and so would I.
                3) They won't have to clean the place.
                4) Everyone is safe.

                Anyway, I do worry about stuff like this, because what is the point of a letting management agency if they don't manage and sort stuff like this out quickly.
                If need be, I would happily invoke PRT article 4, and go home. Blimey! Sounds like invoking a UN/NATO article.LOL

                I have always let the agency manage the property, always agreed to every bit of work needed, but they seem to have dragged their feet on this. However I wonder what is the definition of dealing with stuff like this is a timely fashion is.Who is ultimately responsible. the Agency or the landlord? Mmmmmmm.
                Anyway, thank you for your advice and I hope I can resolve this asap.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by bubblegun View Post
                  Well you are right, they don't have to leave.But under the previous rules,(not the new rules which just came into force because they signed the lease before the new rules comes in) the leasing agency said they can be given two months notice to leave, because they signed before the changes came into force............
                  Earlier you stated
                  It is PRT
                  Shame....

                  What was the start date of the tenancy please? - That will define if it is an AT-or-SaT or the new PRT. Without the definitive answer there is not much we can do.

                  You mention snow: Is this in Highland council area?

                  Slàinte mhath!

                  I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                  Comment


                    #10
                    They started last November so according to the letting agency they are SaT. It was my mistake.

                    No we are not in the highlands.

                    I wonder what the situation is legally when the owner of a property instructs the letting agency to get quotes, and do all the work asap, but it seems to drag one.

                    I asked the letting agency to get this remedied asap, and I'm still waiting for this to get sorted.
                    Sending emails to companies that don't bother to reply, booking inspections a week or two later,(along with the tenants agreement ofcourse), waiting for reports that take another weak, chasing a company to give quotes for work, sending the tenant another letter reminding them that they should clean the place, and look after it. Giving them adequate time to A) Reply, B) clean the place with products recommended,the tenant refuses because they don't like the product and the chemicals, giving them more advice from the council, again for the tenant to say they aren't going to clean it, and that the landlord should clean it. or C) deny they are responsible even though everyone agrees its a life style problem etc etc.D) organise another inspection by the letting agency to confirm if they have changed their life or not style etc etc.

                    Of course there are legal procedures that we must jump through, and I do believe we have met the "Repairing Standards" set out by the Scottish gov, but I do wonder how long is too long?
                    And why in the world wouldn't a tenant want to clean the place they live in.
                    Just seems illogical.

                    I personally don't feel I have dragged my feet on this, but have rather given the management of the property to the letting agency since I do not live in the UK.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      You the landlord remain liable and responsible for everything regarding your rental property: .that you have instructed agent does not change this, nor does your living outwith uk change things.

                      I can't read your agreement with agent from here so can't comment on what they should or should not do. You may turn out to have a claim against agent but 1st you ( YOU ! ) need to make sure the problems are fixed to avoid action by tenant through Tribunal or council.

                      As long as you have all paperwork and can prove tenancy was for at least 6 months and AT5 served on tenants prior to their signing tenancy you should be able to get them out.

                      Get advice from your landlord association and/or a specialist tenant(landlord solicitor.
                      I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Well, you are right in that I have to make sure that problems are fixed. I have never disputed that with any of my tenants. I noticed that the tribunal has said work must be done in a reasonable time, and that opens up a mind field of what is deemed reasonable.
                        Anyway, I am getting the place fixed up, because this isn't an investment property. This is my property that someday I will return too.
                        However, my gut feeling is, even after fixing the place, they will probably continue living like this, which may result in the same problem returning next year, and then we'd be in the same situation as we are now. They may be unhappy, and I may be unhappy.
                        I certainly don't see any need for any special ventilation system when the property has been well looked after for years by other tenants, even though one company suggested it, but that is just to resolve the problem which is caused by their way of living. There has never been any problems before.
                        Otherwise I can't help but think we'd have tenants requesting god knows what next, and never taking any responsibility for their tenancy.

                        Anyway thank you for your advice. It's been helpful.
                        While I am responsible for the health and safety of the property, the tenant has done no cleaning at all and we think they didn't inform us quickly enough.
                        Anyway thank you for your advice. It's been useful.


                        https://youtu.be/gWHKvPhUlh4

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Good news. We provided all the reports to the tenant.
                          They have finally agreed that the problem is due to their life style and will clean it up.
                          So no need to ask the tenant to leave.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I think there is every need. They will be damaging the building, never mind causing a bit of mould.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Well I think you have given food for thought.
                              This will be monitored and any sign of any more problems, and I think you will be right. Get them out.

                              I understand that landlords who have bad tenants have to give a reference when a tenants move on, and it's not in the landlords interest to give a bad report. In the end all that happens is a bad tenant is moved onto another tenant, and I'd hate to be in that position.

                              Anyway I think they've had strike one. Anymore strikes then they need to be OUT.
                              Sadly I'd have preferred a cricket phrase than a baseball phrase. Just couldn't think of one.LOL

                              Comment

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