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Warning to agents and landlords: take damp complaints seriously

An industry body says agents and landlords who ignore tenants' complaints about damp and mould could be putting their property at unnecessary risk and could harm renters.

The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks says the problem has been highlighted by the court case against Adrian Webb, a landlord in St Helens, Lancashire, who was ordered to pay over £3,500 after failing to investigate and remedy damp problems in his property.

He pleaded guilty and apologised for the condition of the property and for acting irresponsibly, pledging to bring the property up to the required standard before re-letting - but the AIIC says this is not good enough.

"By ignoring improvement notices and complaints from tenants about issues like damp and mould, landlords are putting renters' safety at risk as well as opening themselves up to receiving a hefty fine," says Patricia Barber, chair of the AIIC.

"Landlords should try to deal with damage complaints as quickly as possible, in order to minimise the chances of it escalating into a serious problem,” she says.

Barber adds that those landlords who do deal with damage quickly are more likely to gain respect and trust from their tenants.

The AIIC also highlights the importance of independently compiled inventories when it comes to managing property damage and issues like mould and damp.

“An inventory is there to detail the property's condition at the beginning and the end of a tenancy. It therefore makes it much easier to determine which party could liable for any damage or problems identified at the end of the tenancy" says Barber.

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    And in many cases it is lack of ventilation causing mould.

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    Actually, opens a can of worms. Yes a landlord should look at the problem, but invariably it is due to the "Lifestyle" of the tenants. A family of 4 or 5 with a dog in a relatively small but dated property showering every day, with washing drying on radiators will inevitably give rise to masses amounts of moisture. This combined with perhaps dated construction will lead to condensation, which if not managed by a tenant will lead to mould.

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