Tag Archives: condensation

Dehumidifiers may reduce energy costs as well as solve damp issues Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

For landlords with tenants who do all the wrong things and cause condensation and damp problems this can be a nightmare because tenants often argue that de-humidifiers increase their fuel bills, even if landlords offer to provide one. Here is a counter argument which you may care to use if you have this problem this winter.

Not only is wet air more expensive than dry air to heat, but also high humidity makes a house feel colder than it actually is, so people set thermostat levels higher than they need to. A dehumidifier removes this humidity, and so can help cut energy bills. Dehumidifiers may reduce energy costs as well as solve damp issues

It is also worth noting that damp also exacerbates health problems, and this is even more of an issue in winter. As condensation builds in windows due to damp air, the growth of mould is more common.  Mould and damp can worsen asthma, irritate eyes, nose and throat, and cause sinus congestion, headaches, common colds and tonsillitis – all illnesses experienced more around the winter season.

So, as energy companies increase prices this winter, more and more households are turning to dehumidifiers to combat rising energy bills and stay healthy.


Online advice from building surveyors Advice, Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

I run a website providing online advice from building surveyors.

The advice is given by experienced RICS qualified chartered building surveyors.

I would welcome feedback.

The website is www.askasurveyor.co.uk

Although there is a cost of £40 per question answered, we do not charge if we cannot answer and invariably we save clients considerably more than the cost of the question. For example, it often pays to persuade tenants to use it, especially if they keep complaining about issues such condensation and do not believe the problem is their lifestyle. Online advice from building surveyors

Please have a look!

Constructive feedback will be much appreciated.

Many thanks

Robert Desbruslais BSc MRICS


Roof or Condensation Problem? Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Over a year ago, tenant was complaining of leak in bedroom, so had a roofer repair 5 rows of tiles/felt where it could have been.

Then about a year ago there was a lot of mould in one of the bedrooms and the bathroom of the let property. I bought the mould cleaner and painted it over with the special paint from B&Q to prevent further mould appearing.

Few months later new insulation was put in and cavity wall insulation. The property does have double glazing. Now it appears that the mould has come back and worse in the whole of the upstiars.

Not sure if this is a roof problem since all the felt is rotten and therefore whole roof needs re-doing, or do I call a condensation speacialist and fit in the extractor fans in the rooms upstairs.

Confused since each tradesman wants to sell his service, so not sure what to do.

Appreciate any advice. Roof or Condensation Problem?

Bushra Mohammed


Condensation compensation Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Am I liable if my tenants property gets damaged by condensation? Condensation compensation

The flat has had a history of condensation, although obviously I didn’t tell him that.

I cleaned and decorated before he moved him.

I have paid him £500 in compensation although he is not satisfied as he paid over £1,500 for his new furniture when he moved in.

The flat is now sold and he’s moved out.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Just to add it was a ground floor flat and windows could not be left open.

Tony King


Deposit query, delay with obtaining quotes for repair Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

I have 3 tenants who recently vacated a property. During their rental I only dealt with one of the tenants and we went through the check out procedure thoroughly so that he understood what was expected. On the day of the checkout the property was very unclean and the inventory clerk explained to the tenant that cleaning would have to be done. The clerk was also concerned to note that handles had been broken off the windows. The tenant explained they had not been able to open them, yet had never mentioned this to us. We have since had a repair man in who has told us that the windows have ceased up inside completely and he will have to drill through each window in order to release it, patch it up etc. It will be quite a big job. They have ceased up due to rust. We noticed when they were checked out that the boiler was off, that they used cold water only and we suspect that they did not use the heating (fans were all turned off too). Presumably the resulting condensation (no ventilation as windows were closed!) has rusted the mechanics of the windows. Once the tenants vacated and we were able to pull furniture away from walls, we can see black mould developing there, evidence of lack of ventilation and condensation. Deposit query, delay with obtaining quotes for repair

They vacated early July but the first appointment we could get for the window repair man was 26th July. Now that he has seen the extent of the problem, it may take some time before we know on costs, particularly as windows are included in our service charges, therefore the costs of these may be applied to the service charge and we would then only need to pass on to the tenant the cost of our portion of this charge. That cost though would not be known for over a year, though with a bit of digging around we might be able to know what the charge is in 3 months or so.

We have written to the lead tenant letting him know that we are doing all we can to find out costs for the windows, but meanwhile we await his final bills. We still await those final bills from him, 3 weeks after he has moved out. He also lives just around the corner from the flat and knows my husband is there presently doing some internal work, so could pop round at any time.

My question is- what do I do regarding his deposit. There are other deductions which we will have to make, but they are more straightforward. I would like to return as much of his deposit as possible, but the windows may only cost £100 or it may be £1000 – it really depends on how the management company deal with it. We want to be fair, but on the other hand don’t want to leave ourselves with a bill. At the very minimum all broken handles will need to be fixed. These are clearly shown on the inventory as being OK at the beginning of the tenancy.

I have dug around trying to find out rough costs for these, but have drawn a blank.

Any thoughts?

My question mainly goes out to other hands on landlords who have to deal with this regularly and who have not been able to return the deposit as quickly as 10 days.

I would appreciate your responses, thanks very much.

Yvette


Landlords: how to counter tenants’ complaints about damp Latest Articles

Complaint about dampHow often have you had a tenant complain about damp patches or mould? You may even have had builders or specialists in to fix the problem, only to find that the come back again.

Unless you have worked out exactly what is causing the dampness and mould  in the first place, than all a builder can really do is mask the problem for a few weeks or months – it will come back. Yet damp problems can often be resolved completely by taking very simple steps, without the need to pay for major works –often just opening a window will suffice, if you’ve been able to trace the problem to condensation.
Continue reading Landlords: how to counter tenants’ complaints about damp


Potential Deposit dispute – Question from a Concerned Tenant Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Readers QuestionsI was a tenant at a property that I recently left. A few issues have come up and I would appreciate any advice people care to give.

The Notice: The landlord knew I would be going as I had let him know before X’mas 2012. The rent for the property is paid up and all the bills have been settled. The rent was due on the 14th of each month and in the final few months I gave my notice on the 1st April, cleared out completely and gave the landlord the keys back on the 27th of April.

However I paid the full rent for the final month so was fully paid up for two weeks past the date I gave for moving out of the property although I had made it clear to the landlord that the additional rent money I gave was to cover any damages and I had stated this on my written notice and in a few conversations I had with the landlord prior to moving out.

I admit to a problem with the gas fire that was my fault and paid the landlord extra money to cover the costs for fixing that item in particular although I don’t believe the cost will be that excessive. The extra money I left should easily cover that item and any other issues he may have.

Since leaving the property the landlord has come up with additional items and I feel that he’s making a grab for more money. The landlord is also now trying to tell me that the extra rent money I paid him will not cover any damages as it’s rent that was due and the only time I should be leaving the house was on the 13th of the month.

Issue 1: My cat had scratched wallpaper in the kitchen near the door frame and there are a couple of patches, say a square foot, either side the door frame that are now affected. The landlord has told me that he doesn’t have matching wallpaper and that the whole kitchen now needs re-papering. An additional point to note, there was no extractor fan in the kitchen and the wallpaper is peeling off the walls near the ceiling due to condensation – when I cooked I always left the door’s and windows open however this didn’t stop the wallpaper from peeling.

Issue 2: There was a bed that came with the property. I asked the landlord to remove it and he told me that I should put in the garage which I did. After I left the property he’s told me that he needs to replace the mattress as its gone moldy and he’s also denying that he told me to put the bed in the garage.

Issue 3: Bathtub – There is a cast iron tub in the bathroom. The enamel had started peeling off under the hot water tap and there is a small patch missing at that position. The landlord has told me he needs to replace the bathtub.

Issue 4: Garden – The landlord has told me that parts of the garden need weeding however I feel that I have left the garden in reasonable condition. I know that he’s going to contact some gardeners and arrange for the work to be done however I think that he may get them to do the whole garden and try to push all the costs on to me.

I had hoped to leave the house and maintain a good relationship with my landlord however since all these issues have come about I feel that he’s trying to take as much of my deposit as possible and I don’t think I want to maintain any contact with him from now on.

I don’t know if he will go for competitive quotes or even if he will get any quotes he can just tell me the cost was £X in a bid to take more money from me.

I would appreciate any advice.

Concerned Tenant


Condensation claim and prescribed information question Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Condensation claim and prescribed informationA tenant sneaked out 2 months into a 6 month tenancy without paying for the rent. At the start I took a deposit, emailed them the certificate but didn’t send the prescribed information as I couldn’t find it and then forgot about it later.

The tenant complained about damp which I had previously stated was condensation due to drying clothes on radiators without good ventilation. I had bought a dehumidifier – that they didn’t use. Continue reading Condensation claim and prescribed information question


Landlords Guide To Health and Safety Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Health and SafetyA Simple Landlords guide to Health and Safety written by Syd Lewis

When I first started renting properties some 20 years ago, to be legal, all you had to do was have a rent book and if you wanted to ensure you could get possession of your property at the end of the tenancy you drew up an AST. It seems these days Landlords are required to perform more and more tasks, which has not only resulted in having to spend additional time managing their properties but also increased cost. In my work as a professional inventory clerk, I often meet new property owners who apart from perhaps having some vague idea that they need a gas safe certificate and an inventory as part of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme know of little else. This article is for them just to give a few pointers in plain English about some other aspects to consider about health and safety when letting a property.

First the stick, penalties and enforcement, if you for whatever reason, fail to comply with any of the statutory regulations for Landlords and rented property you could be fined up to £5000 or even receive a custodial sentence. Further, if you need to make a claim on your insurance and you are in breach of the regulations your insurance is likely to be void.

Now the Carrot, in my years as a Landlord one of my great pleasures it to hear my tenants tell others that I am a good Landlord and how they like living at their rented home. Apart from the obvious ego massage, there are other benefits, they stay longer at the property reducing void periods and the hassle of finding, vetting and establishing a new landlord and tenant relationship, they tend to take greater care of the property and are willing to pay a higher market rent the live there.

First and foremost, it is the landlords responsibility the make sure the property they let is habitable, in health and safety terms, adequate heating and ventilation, lighting, proper sanitation and more recently good insulation. It is also important for Landlords to make sure tenants understand their responsibility too. I have found a great aid to this, is not just to tell tenants what to do but also to provide a “tenant’s pack”. This includes a welcome note, important information, e.g. how to turn off the water in an emergency, what they should do if there is a problem with the boiler, how to properly ventilate and look after the property to avoid excessive condensation and the resultant mould, operation manuals for any appliances at the property. As a matter of thoroughness, I also recommend that you have copies of any certificates for the property in the tenants pack even if you are not required by law to do so.

INSULATION

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC):
EPC, is a document that states the energy efficiency of a property in bands such as A.B,C, D, etc. stating its typical energy use for the year and estimated cost. The certificate is valid for 10 years. You are required to provide a copy of an EPC to any new tenant. If it is in your tenants pack, you have fulfilled your duty.

FIRE

Furniture and Furnishing Fire Safety Regulations (FFL):
Since 1997 all upholstered furnishings must be fire resistance and have the appropriate fixed permanent labels attached: Beds (including headboards, bases and mattresses), sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, children’s furniture, garden furniture that can be used in the dwelling, scatter cushions, seat pads, pillows. This is not normally an issue these days as most modern furniture is already labelled. However, should the label come loose or be taken off then you will be in breach of the regulations. A good inventory will list each item that has a FFL and help identify any such items that may have had their label removed or damaged during a tenancy.

Fire Extinguishers and Blankets:
There is no compulsory requirement to provide fire extinguishers or fire blankets in single occupation tenanted properties (please note there are special regulations for HMOs and converted building over two stories), but again, this may be a wise precaution, at least in the kitchen area. Having made the decision to provide fire extinguishers, the landlord or agent must then arrange for regular servicing – usually on a 12 monthly basis. You will need to keep up to date records and keep a copy in tenants pack.

Smoke Detectors:
Since 1992 it is required that, all smoke alarms are electrical mains supplied and have a battery backup. There are specific requirements as to which type and where they should be place according the buildings structure and layout. It is the landlord’s duty to make sure the correct devices are fitted at the correct location and to ensure that all devices are working properly when a new tenant takes up occupancy. Thereafter, it is the tenant’s responsibility to regularly check the device by looking for the green light, pressing the self-test button to ensure it is working and when necessary change batteries. Cleaning should be carried out by a competent person and manufactures instructions should be followed. The Landlord needs to make sure that the tenant is aware of their duty and it is a good idea to have this in writing and ensure that there is operation and cleaning advice in the tenants pack.

GAS

Gas Safe:
Landlords are required by law to have an annual gas inspection on all internal gas installations, this must be carried out by a registered Gas Safe Engineer who will upon passing the gas appliances as safe, issue a Gas Safe Certificate. You must ensure that you provide a copy of the certificate to your tenant. If it is in your tenants pack, you have fulfilled your duty.

Carbone Monoxide Detectors:
There is no legal requirement for Landlords to fit Co2 alarms. However, it is a good idea to have them, the principles to follow are those used for a smoke detector. They should be fitted 1m from the boiler and manufactures operating instructions put in the tenants pack.

ELECTRICAL

Periodic Electrical Testing:
If a property is a new build then it should have a “Domestic Electrical Installation Periodic Report” which states the electrical system is safe to use, if not then the property is not habitable. All electrical systems deteriorate over time, the Electrical Safety Council recommend that a periodic electrical test be carried out on rented property every 5 years, a suitability qualified electrician must carry this out. You should keep a copy in your tenant’s pack.

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT):
There is no direct statutory obligation on Landlords or agents to have PAT checks carried out on the electrical system or appliances. However, under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994, both of which come under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, there is an obligation to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe. Also by having regular tests carried out it is a landlords best defence against negligence and acts as corroborative proof that an electrical item was working/ undamaged at the beginning of a tenancy or during a deposit dispute. A copy of the PAT report should be kept in the tenancy pack.

BIOLOGICAL

Legionnaires Disease:
Legionella are bacteria common in artificial water systems such as storage tanks, pipework, taps and showers. People can catch the disease if they inhale into their lungs tiny water or vapour droplets carrying the bacteria. Different properties will require differing approaches – a new build property with a combi-boiler presents less risk than a Victorian terrace with an old water system. If you think, you may have an issue you can go to HSE website and read their free booklet on risk assessment. Upon having completed your risk assessment, if there is no need for further action simply keep a record that no action is required.

Damp and Mould:
Is usually caused by excessive condensation and in most cases can be attributed to the tenant, but not always. Landlords need to be aware that under Healthy Housing and Safety Risk Scheme 2006, Local Authorities can serve you with an improvement notice and fine you. The best protection against this is to have conducted an assessment for condensation and ensure that the property has adequate heating and ventilation. You should also provide your tenant with appropriate instructions on how to avoid and control condensation.

Pets:
The issue here are fleas and potential new tenant’s allergic reaction to an active protein in the salver of a cat. The simplest, measure I have found is to have agreed with the pet owning tenant that they will pay for a professional clean at the end of the tenancy. It is also important to establish the level and quality of the clean required.

Vermin and insects:
Regardless of who is at fault, if a property becomes infested with insects and or vermin, it is always in the Landlords best interest to get it sorted out quickly and by a professional. You can sort out who pays afterwards; fact is if the tenant refuses to pay, you would need to get it sorted anyway.

About the author of this Post

Sydney Lewis A+ Inventories

Syd Lewis has been a private landlord for over 20 years, he is an accredited member of the National Landlords Association (NLA), Residential Landlords Association (RLA), Sponsor of the Good Landlords Campaign, a full member of the Association of Professional Inventory Providers (APIP) and a Certified Electrical Portable Appliance Tester (NIPIT). He is passionate about what he does which is providing residential inventory services, PAT testing and marketing floor plans for Agents, Landlords and Tenants. Inventories start from £56.00 to find out more see:-


Many landlords are not maintenance experts, however …. Landlord News, Latest Articles, Lettings & Management, Property Maintenance, Property News

Many landlords are not maintenance experts, however ....One of the things that always scares me about property and, to be honest, stopped me from buying properties earlier was my lack of maintenance skills. I knew nothing about the causes of damp, how much windows cost, consumer units, or where to source trade kitchens etc. As for roofing – the costs scared me no end.

As you get more experienced, you do pick up knowledge. But there are still areas where you are always going to be struggling.

For example – damp. Continue reading Many landlords are not maintenance experts, however ….


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