Landlords can now be sued for cold or damp homes under new laws

From 20 March, the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act will make landlords more accountable for conditions in their properties. Landlords will have to make sure their properties meet certain standards at the beginning and throughout a tenancy. For the first time this will include problems caused by damp and mould.

 “Conflict between a tenant and a landlord often arises when there is a problem with damp and mould, and who has responsibility for the problem,” comments Chris Michael from Meaco, the UK’s leading dehumidifier specialists.  “If the problem has been allowed to drag on the tenants’ health and possessions could be affected, and the landlord could be faced with costs for repairs and refurbishment.

With damp, the first action point is to check if there is a structural fault or a lack of ventilation.  In combination with this a solution will often be to buy a dehumidifier. This removes the excess moisture from the air created by ‘lifestyle issues’ (bathing, cooking, drying washing, breathing etc). It would also reduce any increase in the room’s relative humidity whilst the tenant waits for repairs to be undertaken. In many cases a dehumidifier alone will solve the problem.

Condensation on walls is a sign that a situation is bad but it does not necessarily mean that there is a structural issue. It could just be that the outside air is very cold, the walls have little or no insulation and the level of moisture inside is high. Improved wall insulation can help but the internal level of moisture stills needs to be reduced.

This new law will increase pressure on landlords to be proactive with regards to damp problems. To prevent damp, mould and condensation becoming a conflict area between tenant and landlord then use a dehumidifier on a regular basis.”