Tenants and bathrooms

by Readers Question

13:45 PM, 12th June 2014
About 6 years ago

Tenants and bathrooms

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Tenants and bathrooms

I wonder if anyone has had a similar experience and/or can advise on the issue of who is responsible when the tenant has not adequately ventilated the bathroom so now the bathroom has to be overhauled to make it presentable again. Tenants and bathrooms

There is mould growing everywhere!

The tenants were informed at the beginning of the tenancy to always open the window after use in addition to the ventilation.

Is this down to ‘wear and tear’ and therefore the landlord’s responsibility or should the tenant be the one who makes good.

The rest of the house is fine but the bathroom is not.

I would really appreciate your opinion – thanks.

Tina


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Neil Robb

19:05 PM, 14th June 2014
About 6 years ago

Hi

I put it in my tenancy agreements that the property is to be properly ventilated and that if this not done either they clean it or pay for the repairs.

I refurbished a house last year found two tenants by December / January the state of the property with mould through out the front two bedrooms and bathroom. Of course all my fault. Every time I turned up windows full of condensation never opened house was not ventilated.

I got environmental health to look at this problem their conclusion lack of ventilation by tenants.

The tenants given clear instruction how to prevent the problem.

matchmade

11:59 AM, 15th June 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Robb" at "14/06/2014 - 19:05":

It's all very well putting some clause in your tenancy agreement, but how do you define "properly ventilated"? I think you would be highly likely to lose if you tried to enforce this clause and a tenant challenged your deductions from her deposit at a tribunal. You can give supposedly clear instructions all you wish, but if the tenant claims she did ventilate the house in summer and it's unreasonable to expect her to leave windows open in the winter with a howling gale blowing through a freezing house, how do you think a tribunal judge is going to respond? You will lose because you have failed to provide sufficient facilities, like an extractor fan, for the tenant to live in reasonable comfort.

I had a similar problem once with a basement flat that used an automated macerator and pump to dispose of solid waste from the toilet and empty the sump up to the mains sewers. I gave verbal and written instructions to the tenant about the sump and had a clause about it inserted in the tenancy agreement. I then sold the property to another landlord who inherited the tenant and AST. Eighteen months later, I received a call from the landlord saying the tenant had at some point turned off the switched fused spur that controlled the automated pump. With the pump not working, waste had accumulated in the sump until it filled up, flooded the foundations and base screed of the flat, and eventually it started seeping into the flat, flooding the carpets and with a smell that you can imagine. When the tenant was asked why he had turned off the switch, he said it was "to save electricity". When asked what he thought the pump did and what he thought happened to the waste from the bathroom, he said he didn't know and he'd assumed it all worked automatically: just magically disappeared.

The landlord attempted to blame the tenant and force him to pay for the damage. I was called as a witness to the court case, but the tenant won because neither I nor the new landlord could definitively prove that we had instructed the tenant about how to operate the sump, i.e. not to turn off the switch with the big lettering that read "Pump". The instruction manual and instruction sheet were judged to be "too complicated" and insufficient for the graduate tenant to understand the implications if he turned off the switch. The clause in the AST was judged irrelevant. Basically, the judge felt that it was the landlord's fault for having a switch that was capable of being meddled with by the tenant, and that he should have checked the switch himself every time he inspected the property.

Based on this experience, I think any landlord who tries to blame the tenant for condensation and any build-up of mould due to excess humidity is on a very sticky wicket. The authorities will only blame tenants for wilful damage and a failure to clean a property to the standard specified in the inventory, less fair wear and tear (itself a highly flexible term and usually interpreted in the tenant's favour). Mould caused by poor background ventilation is the landlord's fault.

Neil Robb

13:56 PM, 15th June 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Tony Atkins" at "15/06/2014 - 11:59":

All my properties have extractors fitted in the bathrooms. The double glazing has Air vents built in. I have never had a problem with a tenants putting it right then I do stay in contact with them in a regular basis.

Tenants seem to want to block the air vent up and close window vents.

Maybe I have been lucky so far. I do treat my tenants well but you can never please all of them.

Maybe I am naïve but a lot of the time I don't take a deposit.

Rob

1:39 AM, 16th June 2014
About 6 years ago

Hi Tina, I had the same problem last year but on a larger scale, 3k of damage in total, all from condensation and mould. Here is the link, you might find something useful in the content. http://www.property118.com/taking-tenant-to-court-condensation/35988/

Mark Alexander

11:15 AM, 16th June 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Danko Puskaric" at "14/06/2014 - 11:52":

Hi Danko

Sorry to take so long to get back to you.

I have used Envirovent fans in properties with the worst problems but they are expensive. You get what you pay for!

The alternatives are much of a muchness and my electricians just buy what's on sale at the time. I tend to rely on their experitise, i.e. I let them tell me what they think I should buy and I go with that. I'm certainly not an expert on these matters but they are. Therefore I can't recommend one specific supplier. Try a Google search, here's a ready made one for you >> https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=humidistat+bathroom+and+kitchen+fans&tbm=shop Better still, ask a good electrician who deals with a lot of landlords to advise you.
.

Graham Downey

12:08 PM, 19th June 2014
About 6 years ago

Hello Folks

Thanks for the comments, I had a look at the property, 8 Bed Hotel on Bath street Southport - After the Viewing the layout was not condusive to be easily split into 3 or 3 flats. So now look at Domestic property

Many thanks.

But Still keeping an open mind for other opertunities

aga smart

12:23 PM, 1st October 2016
About 4 years ago

My present tenants are good with clearing the mould that was left by last tenants, but they are so demanding.... they want to keep the property to their good standard but on their terms!!

The mould it disappearing slowly, but still they want extractor fan, although there is good ventilation and big window for air flow. I lived in the house next door, with same bathroom and never needed the extractor fan there, neither any neighbours have it, they still want it!

Now they are threatening not to pay rent unless the fan is installed, and tiles are changed, or they will do it themselves and deduct the money from rent, what a chick I thought... anyone agree? she has asked for a new bathroom really within 4 months of tenancy starting!

Nick Faulkner

23:22 PM, 2nd October 2016
About 4 years ago

I thought that extraction fans were now a legal requirement but even if they are not it an extremely unwise landlord that does not install them. It seems to me that your tenants are making requests for extraction fans and tiles that are entirely reasonable.
Why would you not do it? The benefit is not just to your current tenants in the short term but to yourself and your property in the long term.
If you cannot see this I think you are in the wrong business and these attitudes are those that get landlords a bad name.I want my tenants to be clean,healthy and happy...don't you want the same for yours?
As Mark Alexander said in earlier posts on this subject the aim should be to make your properties "tenant proof".... we all know that ultimately that is impossible but providing proper facilities and equipment is beneficial to the tenants,the property and the value of your business.

Rob Crawford

23:39 PM, 2nd October 2016
About 4 years ago

Looking at the photograph it looks like the mould is around a box frame covering the waste down pipe that vents through the roof. Condensation from hot vapour in the air will form on any cold surface. As well as what has been suggested it would be worth checking to see if the pipe has any insulation around it. Also a special vent cap on the top of the vent pipe to reduce cold air entering it.

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