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Thomas Judge
Thomas Judge, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience
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I need some advice on a private tenancy. It's lengthy

Customer Question

Hello, I need some advice on a private tenancy. It's lengthy to explain, do you have an email to send it to or shall I outline it on here?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 1 year ago.
Please outline here and I will try and help
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I need some advice regarding a private property we have been privately renting for the past 6 months. The property is a 3 bed semi-detached house situated in Cornwall. We paid 6 months up front in April at £750 a month and our deposit of £850. It is myself, my husband and our 2 young boys who live here. (3 and 14 months)

Between April and July we didn't notice any damp, the house always felt particularly cold but we put that down to it being positioned next to a large church and the sun doesn't get to it much. In August we started to notice damp patches coming through mainly on the external wall that is parallel to the church next door. The damp is coming through in the lounge, dining room, front big bedroom and back bedroom - all on the same external wall.

In the lounge the wall has black mildew on it. This room has an extremely bad damp smell about it and it is this room both my husband and I suffer with allergies - sneezing, blocked noses, itchy eyes and occasionally headaches too. This has happened to us since living in the house, we first put it down to possible dust, or possible animal fur in the carpet but we had the carpet cleaned and obviously keep the room dust free but the problem persists. We had a brown unit stood up in the corner of the effected wall and when we pulled it out to clean behind it was covered in green mould, we took photos. We have had to adjust all the furniture in the lounge to get it off the affected wall.

In the dinning room, the wall is covered in white fluffy mildew, again we have photos of this. I have had to clean this wall off regularly to keep it sterile as I am aware of us all breathing it all in. This wall does have a vent at the bottom but it doesn't appear to make much difference. During heavy rainfall the wallpaper is wet to touch and bubbles up in patches due to the dampness.

The front big bedroom only has a few black mildew patches, but bad enough to attach itself to the babies cot. Again we noticed this when we pulled the cot out to clean the wall. Our baby is 14 months old and has had a persistent cough now for about 2 months. We cannot say it's definitely the damp effecting him but it's a cause for concern.

The back bedroom, which we are using as our bedroom has a large patch alongside our wardrobe of thick green mildew on the wall. The mildew is coming in through the back of the wardrobe. We noticed this when I went to get a pair of shoes out the cupboard and about 6 pairs of shoes and boots were covered in mould. Again I took photos of the damage.

We have been putting the heating on to dry out the walls trying to keep the damp out but also cracking windows open to air the rooms out. We first emailed the landlords regarding the issue on Thursday 24th September. We asked for advice and also asked if they would consider reducing our rent over the winter months (just asking). Their response to us was that they didn't have the issue when they lived in the house and that they won't be renewing our contract, which ends on 17th October.

They then contacted us the next morning and let us know they have booked in a damp survey. Our main issue is that we feel we have put up with quite a serious problem, we are concerned for our children health and also our own. The email we sent was not rude or of a complaint nature, we were after advice. We feel they have really disregarded what we have said and are trying to claim there is no issue.

I have kept a copy of the email conversation. We really need to know if:

1. Obviously our tenancy agreement is finished on 17th October - The email saying they won't renew our contract is that the official notice?

2. Would we be entitled to have 2 months notice?

3. Also what can we do regarding the extreme damp? Surely it goes against health and safety?

4. Would we be entitled to get money back from them? especially the last 2 months having to keep the heating on with windows open?



Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jennifer,The email does not sound as if it meets the criteria to provide you with notice to leave the property. These things are very prescriptive and there needs to be either a s.8 or s.20 notice. You are basically entitled to 2 months notice. I would be minded to contact the Environmental Health Services to attend upon the property. I would do this sooner rather than later. You can bring a claim against them for compensation. You should really set this out in a letter to them - how much you would be expecting - either a discount or specific sums for bills etc. If this sum can not be agreed then you can bring a claim in the small claims court. Any evidence from the EHS would clearly benefit such a claim. Happy to discuss. Please rate positive.
Thomas Judge, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 32824
Experience: Over 20 years experience
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.


We will speak to the EHS, think they need to know the problem is real as they completely disregarded what we have told them. We have asked about reducing rent over winter months due to overpaying on heating due to the damp and that's when they said they won't renew the contract.

To be honest we don't plan on staying here anyway as we are concerned about the health of the kids and am trying to look elsewhere. Do we need to give them notice? or that fact they sent us that email means we are entitled to just go. What I don't want is to find somewhere else to live and before the 17th October and then for them to claim we owe money anyway?

I don't think we will go through the small claims court as we don't really have the money, I thought that would be the way forward.

Thanks for your help

Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 1 year ago.

My pleasure

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