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?