Tenants of a Council owned property awarded £3,170
Our client moved into a council-owned, four-bedroom, semi-detached property in 2009. He first reported damp and mould throughout his home in 2017 via his landlord’s repairs phone number.
Our client had black mould growth along the entire lengths of the external wall-ceiling junctions in the upstairs rooms. The landlord had told him that this was due to condensation caused by lifestyle issues.
At Imperium Law we assess each claim individually on the evidence provided to us. Some claims for damp and mould are caused by condensation, which landlords too readily tell their tenants it is their responsibility to clean away and prevent it from re-occurring. In some cases, this is the best response as the mould growth is minor and/or the landlord has installed all viable options to try to remedy the situation. In our client’s case, it was clear that the landlord had been too quick to apportion blame to their tenant and had not responded reasonably to the reports.
The surveyor’s report found, by using thermal imagery technology, that the loft insulation had not been laid to the edges of the room resulting in cold spots where condensation forms and mould grows. Upon investigating the insulation in the loft space, the surveyor discovered that it had not been well laid, with areas where it had been left piled up and areas where none had been laid. In addition, the surveyor found missing mortar in the external brickwork and large settlement cracks in the corner of one of the bedroom walls, in addition to ongoing leaks in the bathroom.
The landlord did not respond well to negotiations and the claim was issued to court. Imperium Law built a body of evidence showing that, although insulation is not a structural disrepair under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant act 1985, the landlord was in breach of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 and the Housing Health and Safety Rating System which forms part of the 2004 Housing Act, as the mould growth could be partially remedied with repairs to the windows and re-laying of the insulation. Imperium Law showed how the disrepair was connected to and contributed to the visible black mould, we also showed how living in these conditions impacted the family. A change in file handler for the defendant saw improvements in communications and a settlement was agreed before the claim reached court. Our client received £3,170 in compensation and all the repairs we requested were completed within 84 days.