What are the health problems associated with living in a damp home?

It has long been known that damp and mould in the home can have a detrimental impact on the health of those living there. People living with damp and mould on a daily basis have a greater chance of developing respiratory problems, infections, allergies or asthma and it can also affect the immune system; making people more susceptible to other health issues as a result.

Who is most at risk of health problems when living in a damp home?

Some people are more at risk when living with damp and mould than others, and some people are more sensitive to the effects. Anyone that fits into the below categories should always stay away from any visible damp or mould. The people most at risk include:

  • The elderly
  • Babies and young children
  • Those with a weakened immune system due to other conditions e.g. someone receiving chemotherapy treatment
  • Those with existing respiratory problems, such as asthma
  • Those with existing skin conditions, like eczema

How does damp or mould affect people’s health?

Mould produces spores, which can cause allergic reactions in some people. This can affect the breathing or respiratory system, make people sneeze, cough, get a runny nose and irritate the eyes. If spores come into contact with the skin, they can also cause a skin rash or other irritation. Mould can be especially dangerous to those suffering from asthma, as it can be the catalyst for asthma attacks.

What can I do if my home has damp or mould?

If you own your home, it is your responsibility to sort out any damp or mould issues. If you rent your home, it might be your landlord’s responsibility to fix the problems, depending on what is causing the issues.

If the damp is caused purely by condensation within the home, it is usually the tenant that needs to change the way they do things to minimise this type of moisture building up and forming mould. This can usually be managed by ensuring rooms are ‘aired’ regularly, opening windows daily. Measures should also be taken to reduce moisture forming indoors, including not drying laundry inside, closing doors when cooking, bathing or showering and using any dehumidifiers provided by the landlord. If poor ventilation in the home is due to structural issues or disrepair e.g. windows that can’t be opened, it is the landlord’s responsibility to fix this.

If the damp is caused by structural and disrepair issues in the property, e.g. broken guttering or downpipes, roof damage, worn brickwork allowing moisture inside or rising damp, it is the responsibility of the landlord to fix the root of the problem, in addition to doing any redecorating required once the area is free from damp or mould.

How long will it take my landlord to fix the damp problem in my home?

Your landlord doesn’t have a fixed deadline under law to sort out damp problems in your home. However, they do need to ensure the necessary work is done in within a ‘reasonable’ timeframe. If someone in the household is being made ill, or their health problems are getting worse, as a result of the damp or mould, making sure the landlord aware of this might help to speed up repairs.

What if my landlord isn’t fixing the damp problem in my home?

If you have correctly reported the damp issue to your landlord, including any additional information about how it is being detrimental to the health of people living there, and they don’t seem to be taking the complaint seriously or have not made the necessary repairs within a reasonable amount of time, you may be eligible to make a housing disrepair claim against them.

What is a housing disrepair claim, and can my landlord evict me if I make a claim?

A housing disrepair claim is a legal process that is taken against your landlord for failing to complete adequate repairs to your rented home in line with their legal responsibilities. If a disrepair claim is successful, the court will order your landlord to carry out the necessary works to make your home free from damp and mould again. If any members of your household have been made ill by the damp, or if it has made existing health issues worse, you may also be able to claim compensation from your landlord for this.

We firmly believe that every tenant deserves to live in a home that is safe for them and their family. Your health should not be put at risk by the failure of your landlord to act on repairing a damp problem in your home.

Your landlord is not legally able to evict you from your home for complaining about disrepair or for making a claim against them. If you’re experiencing damp in your rented home and your landlord is not taking the necessary steps to fix the problem, you can contact CEL Solicitors for a free claim assessment and to discuss your options. Call us on 0809 281 2660 t