Is damp and condensation a landlord’s or tenants responsibility?

damp and condensation
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There are many factors that impact on the condition of a property and the quality of life for a tenant. You will find that damp, condensation and mould pose some of the biggest risks to property and tenants, and this is why landlords need to be aware of these matters, and also, who is responsible for them. In winter time, it is only natural that the question of whether damp and condensation a landlord’s responsibility or something the tenant should deal with.

One of the biggest issues in finding out who should resolve damp and condensation issues is down to the fact that there are different causes of damp. This means that the dampness needs to be properly diagnosed before an accurate judgment can be made. Of course, hiring a professional to assess the property costs money and takes time, which is why many landlords and tenants would prefer to avoid this step. However, without this step, it can be difficult to fully ascertain who is responsible for the work.

Be aware of the legal viewpoint on damp

With respect to a legal viewpoint, if diagnosis suggests that the problems in the home have been caused by penetrating damp or rising damp, this will be the responsibility of the landlord. This is down to the fact that these issues are down to the structure of the property.

If the diagnosis suggests that condensation has caused problems, this will normally have been caused by the lifestyle of the tenant, and this will therefore be the responsibility of the tenant. Many everyday activities in the home cause moisture and this moisture needs to find a way to escape the property. A home needs to have proper ventilation for moisture to escape, and this may be an issue that some tenants will make in their defence.

A property should be well-ventilated

Clearly there are steps that a tenant can take to minimise the likelihood of condensation arising at home but in many cases, it is not entirely possible to prevent it if the home is not well ventilated. If a landlord isn’t willing to invest in sufficient ventilation for the property, a tenant may have a case to argue that it is the actions of the landlord who have caused the condensation and this means that it is the landlord who should be responsible for improvement work.

damp and condensation

It can be helpful to review Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, as this suggests that landlords have a legal requirement to be responsible for resolving problems related to dampness. This can be found in Section 11 of the act which outlines the need for certain elements of the home to be kept in working order, including:

  • The structure and exterior of the property
  • The supply of water, gas and electricity
  • Heating and heating water

It is recommended that the landlord at least takes responsibility for the issue to be reviewed and diagnosed. Once a diagnosis has been provided, it is therefore easier to determine who will be responsible for the repair work associated with dampness and condensation in a rental property. As a guideline, landlords should consider the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, HHSRS, and adhere to this. Following these guidelines will help landlords to operate in a lawful manner.

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