The Government has released guidance on understanding and addressing the health risks of damp and mould.
There are 4 main legal standards that relate to damp and mould in private rented homes:
- All homes must be free from category 1 hazards under the Housing Act 2004.
- Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, all homes must not contain conditions that are prejudicial to health.
- The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 require that properties are fit to live in.
- Private rented homes must also meet minimum energy efficiency standards.
Landlords must ensure that their homes have all the measures in place to ensure that damp and mould have been minimised.
Landlord should regularly inspect their properties, remedy deficiencies promptly and ensure that they have a regular programme of maintenance and management.
If a tenant reports damp and mould, landlords should establish the source of the damp, whether there is any defect to the property that is causing it, and then carry out the appropriate remedial work.
The guidance also makes it clear that it is unreasonable to blame damp and mould on tenant "lifestyle choices".
While everyday tasks will contribute to moisture levels, the fundamental cause of damp and mould will be due to building deficiencies, inadequate ventilation, inadequate heating and/or poor energy efficiency. It is essential that working with tenants must sit alongside, and not be a substitute for, tackling the root causes of the issue.
The full guidance can be read here.