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You can claim compensation if your rental accommodation has damp and mould due to defects that your housing association or council is responsible for repairing. You must be able to show that your housing association or council has either refused to fix the problem, or has carried out a repair to a poor standard.
Speak to our housing disrepair solicitors – England and Wales
Are you dealing with damp and mould in a rented property? If your housing association or council fails to address the problem, then you could have grounds for a housing disrepair claim. Contact us at Ashmans Solicitors for a free assessment of your claim. Ensure that you collect evidence of any disrepair in the property. Make sure that you understand your responsibilities as a tenant.
Who is responsible for mould: housing association or tenant?
If you are renting a property with mould/damp issues, you might wonder: who is responsible? Is it your housing association? Or is it you, the tenant? The answer depends on how and why the damp/mould developed.
As a tenant, you have duty to keep your rental property well-ventilated. If you do not air out your home enough and mould develops as a result, then you are at fault. To prevent this, you might do things like dry your laundry outside or use a tumble dryer. You should also turn on the bathroom extractor fan when having a shower or bath, and leave the windows open for a short amount of time each day.
Housing associations, on the other hand, are responsible for:
- The property’s structure and exterior
- Basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary fittings including pipes and drains
- Heating and hot water
- Gas appliances, pipes, flues and ventilation
- Electrical wiring
- Any damage they cause by attempting repairs
If mould and damp develop because any of the above are defective, then your housing association or council is responsible. Mould and damp are commonly associated with structural defects, particularly in old or poorly maintained properties.
Your housing association or council might be responsible for the mould and damp problem if it is being caused by:
- Water leaks
- Broken pipes, drains and guttering
- Cracked walls
- Rotten doors or windows
- Rising damp, which happens when groundwater rises up through the walls
- Rain seeping into the building through the masonry
- Condensation due to inadequate ventilation systems, insulation or heating
- A problem with the damp-proof course
- Design problems which cause damage to the building
Can you sue for damp?
As a tenant, you have the right to live in a safe environment. If a defect arises and it falls under the scope of your housing association’s repair responsibilities, then your housing association must take timely action to remedy the problem. You should report the issue, after which your housing association or council should carry out a repair. This should effectively resolve the mould and damp, and should be performed within a ‘reasonable’ amount of time.
If your housing association or council fails to address the mould and damp issues in your rental accommodation, or carries out a repair to a poor standard, then you can sue for compensation. This is known as making a housing disrepair claim.
A housing disrepair claim is when a tenant takes legal action against their landlord (such as a housing association or council) for failing to make the property fit for human habitation. Damp and mould are particularly common causes of housing disrepair claims. If you are struggling with damp and mould in your rental accommodation, you might be able to make a claim if:
- Your housing association or council is responsible for repairing the defects that are causing the damp and mould; and
- You have reported the problem to your housing association or council; and
- A few months have passed, but your housing association or council has not rectified the problem
If you want to know whether you could sue your housing association or council for damp and mould, contact us at Ashmans Solicitors for a free assessment.
How much compensation can I get for damp and mould?
Every housing disrepair claim is different, so it is hard to say how much compensation you will get for damp and mould. Compensation is given for your:
- Pain, suffering and loss of quality of life
- Damaged possessions
- Other financial losses
Pain, suffering and loss of quality of life
Damp and mould can adversely affect your health. The young, the elderly and those with pre-existing allergies or respiratory conditions are especially at risk. However, even adults who were previously in good health may develop asthma or other issues, particularly where black mould is concerned. Prolonged exposure to the spores in black mould can lead to infections, asthma attacks and difficulty breathing. If you have developed physical and/or psychological injuries because of the damp/mould problems in your rental property, then this will be reflected in your compensation settlement.
Your loss of quality of life should also be included in your settlement. This covers the inconvenience and discomfort that has been caused, and the impact any health conditions have had on your hobbies or general enjoyment of life.
If mould has spread to your furniture, clothes or other possessions, the cost of replacing/repairing these items can be recovered.
Other financial losses
If you have lost any finances – or spent any money – because of the housing disrepair, then this will be incorporated in your settlement. This might include lost income or the cost of a dehumidifier.
How can you prove that mould is making you sick?
If you think the damp and mould in your rental property is making you unwell, we recommend speaking to your GP as soon as possible. If you go on to make a housing disrepair claim, this will help to prove a link between the mould and your physical injuries. We can also ask a medical expert to write a report, confirming that your health has suffered due to prolonged exposure to damp and mould.
Can you refuse to pay rent if you have mould?
You should continue to pay your rent, even if your housing association or council is refusing to address the damp and mould problem in your rental property. Otherwise, your housing association or council will have cause to evict you. Instead, you should contact our housing disrepair solicitors about making a claim. This allows you to recover a percentage of your rent, along with other damages. In the meantime, we recommend that you pay your rent in full.
Do you have a claim? Find out now
Living in a damp, mouldy environment is not good for your health. It is not something you should have to put up with as a tenant. If your housing association or council is failing to meet their repair responsibilities, meaning you have been living with damp and mould for months on end, please contact us at Ashmans Solicitors. We specialise in housing disrepair claims and can help you further. We offer a free assessment of your claim, so you can find out whether you have grounds to sue your housing association or council without having to pay for legal advice.
If you do decide to make a claim, we will run the case on a no win, no fee basis. This provides you with total financial protection, as you only pay our legal fees if your claim succeeds.
Can I claim for damp and mould – quick facts
Can I claim for damp and mould?
You can claim for damp and mould if your housing association or council is responsible for fixing the damp and mould issues, but is refusing to do so (or has attempted a repair but it has not rectified the problem). You must have reported the problem to your housing association or council and waited a reasonable amount of time for a repair to be carried out. If nothing has been done after three months, contact us to discuss a claim.
Could damp and mould be making me ill?
Yes, damp and mould can make you ill, especially if you are exposed to it for long periods of time. It can cause breathing problems such as asthma, as well as infections and other health complaints.
Will I get compensation for mould and damp?
Yes, if your housing disrepair claim is successful, you will get compensation for your damages. You will get a percentage of your rent back, covering the amount of time you have been living with the damp and mould. You will also be compensated for other damages, like your financial losses.
Does it matter who my landlord is?
You can make a claim for damp and mould if you rent from a housing association or council. You should not have to live in a rental property that is not fit for human habitation.
The housing association or council says they’re not responsible for the damp and mould – is that right?
As outlined above, tenants are responsible for taking good care of the property, which means keeping it well ventilated. That is the extent of your obligations. Your housing association or council is responsible for the structure and exterior of the property, the sanitary fittings and heating. Your housing association or council might say the damp and mould are your fault, but this is not necessarily true. It is very common for housing associations to try to shift blame onto tenants. To find out for certain, contact us for free legal advice.