Mould and Damp – Updated Guidance in the Private Rented Sector

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  • Mould and Damp – Updated Guidance in the Private Rented Sector

Ensuring fitness for human habitation.

Mould and damp are now referenced in a variety of acts. Governing how landlords manage repair and maintenance of their rental properties.

Private landlords are required to ensure that the home is fit for human habitation. Being at the start and during the tenancy. Under landlord and tenant act 1995, with “freedom from damp” listed as a condition.

This act was then amended by the homes (fitness for human habitation) act 2018.

This points to landlords to the housing health and safety rating system, commonly known as HHSRS. Outlining the 29 circumstances where a property can be deemed for unfit human habitation including damp and mould. It also sharers advice on how to determine the presence of those key hazards in the rental home.

The HHSRS assessment is not currently necessary for courts to decide if the home is fit for human habitation. However, local authorities can use it to identify those hazards and enforce action against landlords.

The Government want to create decent homes.

The Decent Homes Standard does not currently apply to private rented sector but will do soon under the rental reform bill with proposals that are being introduced to making them meet the standard legal obligation.

The standard refers to damp and mould as one of the hazard to identify through HHSRS. It also shares the rating system is not a standard in itself. It simply “concerned with avoiding or, at the very least, minimizing potential hazard”.

The Governments renters reform bill will ensure that homes in private rented sector are warm and dry and say its unacceptable for renters living in damp or mouldy homes.

How to keep a property fit for human habitation.

There is landlords guidance under the homes (fitness for human habitation) act 2018 that places obligation on landlords to keep structure and exterior of the property as well as service installation such as water supply in a good state of repair.

This also includes damp and mould issues that arise due to lack of maintenance or structural problems in a rented property. The landlord must take action to rectify these.

If tenants find an issue with the property that they believe makes it unfit for human habitation, they will notify the landlord or agent in writing. The landlord then needs to deal with the issue in a “reasonable amount of time” according to the acts guidance.

The guidance suggests landlords wont need to remedy unfitness if it is caused by tenant behaviour. Ie damp causing mould through poor ventilation.

The tenant needs to ensure they adequately heat and ventilate the property to avoid damp building up and causing mould.

There is more guidance to come.

We understand the Government is currently viewing the HHSRS. There are a lot of reports that suggest that local authorities are inspecting rented properties who will be formally instructed to view the occupants behaviour when deciding to take action against the landlord on allegations on dangerous conditions.

Various MP’s have called for the Decent Homes Standard to make the obligation on landlords around damp and mould more explicit. The private renters ombudsman has outlined in the renters reform bill is expected to oversee tenants complaints in future to include those relates to mould and damp.

Additionally, ministers have also promised a lot more guidance on damp and mould in rented homes by the summer of 2023. This will mean clarity and potential change on the horizon for letting agents and landlords. We will keep you updated.

Mark Harrington proprietor to Harringtons Lettings

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google-review Review
17:30 22 Feb 24
Have been very accommodating and helpful when calling agents. They have been very helpful in being able to secure a house for students.
16:42 21 Feb 24
Went above and beyond to get things sorted for me
Brittany Stace
Brittany Stace
11:18 24 Jan 24
Harringtons have been incredibly helpful and supportive of us as new renters and they have been super efficient in getting all of the documents sent through and signed in such a short period of time. Thank you!
Georgie Prebble
Georgie Prebble
20:36 05 Jan 24
Jade Innes
Jade Innes
10:24 04 Jan 24
So far the service has been good. The staff are very friendly and quick to respond to any questions and requests.
Polly Smith
Polly Smith
11:17 28 Dec 23
we chose this letting agents as they chose a good bills company that is much cheaper than other agents. When viewing houses the staff were very friendly and have been very helpful in answering our questions and making the process as easy as possible.
Emma Howe
Emma Howe
16:06 14 Nov 23
I would rate Harringtons Lettings a 5/5. Very lovely on the phone and very quick and easy to communicate with via email. Any problems have been resolved in no time at all. So far so good!I found Harringtons via Rightmove.
Akwisitions Feedback
Akwisitions Feedback
16:25 30 Oct 23
Very responsive and super helpful throughout the process. Highly recommended!
Chloe Ballard
Chloe Ballard
17:28 02 Oct 23
Although I have only been renting with Harringtons for a short period of time, I have had nothing but a positive experience. From viewing to admin updates. The admin team especially are very polite and quick to respond and I have no doubt that the rest of my tenancy will run smoothly. I would recommend to anyone considering renting in brighton.
Matthew Ball
Matthew Ball
11:46 19 Sep 23
Professional communication with tenant although entirely impersonal. There was a bigger disconnect in their communication with the landlord in most cases, which seemed to be either slow or non-existent (discovered after contacting the landlord directly).Property was full of spider webs on day 1 despite apparently being professionally cleaned. Took a day off of work to clean it on move out day, leaving it cleaner than when it received but still had to pay part of the deposit for professional cleaning.It has been a while since I have rented, but I'll avoid letting agencies completely now if this is anything close to the average renting experience.
Ronan SK
Ronan SK
12:38 12 Sep 23
Great professionalism/communciation from the start up until the end of my tenancy. Definitely set the standards for what agencies should be like. Highly recommend to those within Brighton.
Daniel Sutton
Daniel Sutton
10:29 24 Aug 23
I have rented with Harringtons Lettings before and have always found the agents to be quick, efficient, friendly and helpful. I loved their service so much I have chosen to rent with Harringtons again. Faultless 😊
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