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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
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Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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My flat is currently covered in mould and i am trying to end

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My flat is currently covered in mould and i am trying to end my tennacy but the landlord says I can't as the council have not said it is uninhabitable. What can i do?
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: I have emailed them regarding the condition of the flat and sent a notice to vacate but they have said that I need to give them 2 months notice
JA: Where is the flat located?
Customer: Derby
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no

Hello, my name is Jim and I am a qualified lawyer happy to help you today.

By law, landlords must ensure the property is in "good repair" under S.11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

It would be breach of contract on their part and you would be within your rights to terminate the tenancy agreement. I note the council have strangely not said the flat is uninhabitable - you may want to make a complaint about the council as mould is a health and safety risk - it can lead to respiratory illnesses so I have to say I am surprised at their stance.

If the council cannot help you would either have the option of paying it yourself and withholding rent or to instruct a tradesman to come out and fix the problem and you then pursue the landlord for the money. This assumes you want to remain living there - if not then you would have to cite breach of contract on the landlord's part and move out - then sue the landlord for your rent (since the mould was discovered).

You can sue the landlord in the county court for your losses on the money claim site (http://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk) although I recommend sending the landlord a letter before action (copy attached) to warn them of your intentions first and allow them 14 days to reimburse you. If they do not reimburse, you are free to issue a claim.

I hope this helps - if you can please accept the answer and give me a 5 star rating (there should be a button at the top of your screen to do this), I can answer follow up Q&A's at no extra charge and Just Answer will credit me for helping you today.

Many thanks,

Jim

JimLawyer and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
I have only just told housing standards today but I wanted to understand if I am dependant on them saying its unhabitable or not?
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Hi Jim, I have received the following email from the landlord: I understand your point to confirm that the landlord must keep the property in “good repair” which is why I am organising for these works to be completed as quickly as possible.

As mentioned, we have not been formally advised by the council that this property has been listed as “uninhabitable” so the landlord cannot be held against this which means that this tenancy will not be immediately terminated.
The contract does not specify that the council have to deem in unihabitable. Could you please advise me on this?

it would help if the council did state the property is uninhabitable but they obviously do not deem the mould a category 1 hazard where they "must" take action. You can make a complaint to the council here:

https://www.derby.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/customer-services/customer-complaints

If you have evidence (photographs of the mould) then you can still pursue this. The council may only intervene in the most serious of cases and if you have an illness as a result of the mould, but the law I mentioned still applies

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
I have evidence as in pictures of the mould. The original issue was external with the roof and rendering which they have only just fixed. I have given him noticed which he won't accept but am going to leave. What is the risk for me?

the risk is he sues for the rent once you leave but you can defend the claim easily on the basis the property was in disrepair. It is easy to defend a small claim, the court sends you the papers to fill out and return.