Is your landlord fobbing you off?

July 2017

Only condensation?

Many tenants complain to their landlords about damp only to be told by that it is only condensation.  Often the landlord will then imply that it is the tenant’s fault for not opening windows, drying  clothes inside or not heating the dwelling properly.
 
Many tenants on hearing that the problems they are experiencing are only condensation simply accept that it is not the landlord’s fault.
 
There are 2 situations where this position is simply wrong:
 
The first is where the condensation has created so much dampness that the condensation has caused structural disrepair.    It is important to remember that the plaster on walls amounts to a part of the structure of the building.   So, if there is very bad condensation making the plaster very wet then this may be a breach of the obligation contained in virtually all residential tenancies (even where it is not written in the agreement) that the landlord will keep the structure in repair.
 
The second situation is where the condensation is sufficiently bad to make the premises unhealthy.  This will often be the case where the condensation is associated with mould growth.  If the condensation and mould are bad enough then the condition of the flat may be prejudicial to health.  If this is the case then the landlord may be guilty of the crime of allowing a statutory nuisance to exist in the property they rent out.   This is the case even if there is no structural disrepair.
 
In either of these situations, even though it is only condensation, the tenant can take action to force the landlord to fix the condensation dampness  and may be able to obtain compensation too