Tenants causing condensation and won’t clean flat before leaving

by Readers Question

9:15 AM, 15th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Tenants causing condensation and won’t clean flat before leaving

Make Text Bigger
Tenants causing condensation and won’t clean flat before leaving

I was told by my tenants a couple of years ago that their ground floor flat had damp. After viewing it I informed them that it was condensation and showed them that if they wiped it down with neat Domestos it would go away, I also told them having to heat and ventilate the property. clean

Just before Christmas they called me in to repair the bathroom door and while I was there they pointed out that several walls, floor to ceiling were black and there was water running down the windows. I again told them that this was condensation caused by there lifestyle ie drying clothes on radiators, boiling pans of water, not putting the heating on enough, not opening windows etc.

They insisted they did heat and ventilate the place properly. As a gesture of good will I installed a Nuaire Flatmaster 2000 Ventilation System for them. This has worked as the windows are now dry but the walls are still black and the tenants are refusing to clean them. As a result of the condensation the flat needs to be fully decorated and all the blinds need to be replaced (approx. £1000).

The flat is a modern 1975 build with double glazing. The tenants have now handed their notice in but as they wont clean the flat how can I show prospective tenants round. Has anyone else come across this

Just to point out, I haven’t had any previous problems with this property apart from a little condensation in the small bedroom which just wiped off.

George



Comments

Neil Patterson

9:18 AM, 15th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi George,

Dependent on how much it is worth you may need to incentivise the tenants to clean up and show any prospective tenants round. If not you will need to wait them out and if they have caused damage see if you can claim any costs from the deposit.

Kelly Joanna

11:45 AM, 15th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Hopefully you will have a decent, in going photographic inventory in order to prove viable deductions, with before and after pictures.
Such a common problem - sadly, a lot of tenants will take no responsibility. Mold, as far as they're concerned is 'damp', something quite different altogether!

Lewis Hardwick

11:50 AM, 15th March 2016
About 3 years ago

As a tenant in a similar age property, it irks me when landlords say it's a 'lifestyle' issue... Boiling pans of water and drying clothes on the radiators are hardly heinous crimes and are pretty normal for almost all people who wish to eat and wear clean clothes.

I am by no means advocating this particular tenants lack of responsibility. As a 'good' tenant I have moisture traps on every window sill and try to ensure that the windows are left on the 'second latch' during to the day to aid ventilation. However with restrictive clauses in tenancy agreements which strictly forbid clothes airers on a balcony and no room for a condensing tumble dryer, I do still get damp and condensation.

I'd be inclined to tell them to clean it up or expect a significant deduction from their deposit. Though do expect the paint underneath to look a mess as emulsion is shockingly poor these days!

Jeff Maller

12:13 PM, 15th March 2016
About 3 years ago

I had a similar problem with a tenant a few years ago and despite having photographic evidence of the damage as well as an inventory check in and check out report which corroborated the damage caused during the tenancy was unable to reclaim any of the tenants deposit on vacation of the property by the tenant when the case went to My Deposits protection service, I was advised by My Deposits that I would have needed to have a written surveyors report in order to validate a proper claim, therefore if this problem is presenting itself, the minute the tenant leaves get a surveyor in fast.

Rod

15:58 PM, 15th March 2016
About 3 years ago

I had the same problem and used 'anti condensation paint' £60 a tin, problem solved!

Gary Dully

22:29 PM, 15th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Lewis Hardwick" at "15/03/2016 - 11:50":

Lewis,

I know that in your opinion drying your frillies on a radiator is not an issue in an older property, but I can assure you that it is.

The amount of water that can be held by modern fabrics is colossal.
If the property has insufficient ventilation that water saturates the air and turns older houses into lizard tanks.

When they were built, they had natural ventilation via rickety window frames, draughty door frames and open chimney's.

Add a few draught excluders, double glazing and block up the chimney's and all that water vapor can no longer escape.

As soon as it hits a cool surface, such as a solid brick wall, you get that lovely effect of water trickling down the walls.

To illustrate the same effect, eat a bag of fish and chips in your car when it's raining outside, then watch your windows mist up and you can draw your genitals on the glass and impress your friends as you describe the laws of physics.

How do you stop your car windows being misty? - you crack open a window and let the saturated air out or turn on the cars air conditioning as it removes the moisture the picture of your genitals will dissolve away as the condensation also vanishes.

You also have a nice meal.
Condensation doesn't know if it's a house or a car, it happens when you overload the air with water vapor and it hits a cooler surface.

The cure is, as always, replace the saturated air, or in other words Ventilate!

Stephen Linley-Shaw

9:15 AM, 16th March 2016
About 3 years ago

I'm delighted to see that a reader has acknowledged that the Flatmaster 2000 he installed worked to dry out his tenants flat. Flatmasters and Drimasters cure condensation without any intervention of the tenant and cost little to run.

Black mould on the walls will die because it cannot 'feed' unless the material it is attacking is above 60% damp - the mould is dead and will not return.

However the dark staining remains and must be washed off ( we recommend gentle bleach in the water) and often redecoration is required.

How one negotiates the cost of cleaning up is a matter between the landlord and the tenant - but at least the problem as been solved.

best wishes. Stephen Linley-Shaw - Dryhomes

Dr Monty Drawbridge

9:27 AM, 16th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Lewis Hardwick" at "15/03/2016 - 11:50":

It may irk you but when you let a property to several tenants consecutively over a period of years and only one experiences problems, what else are you going to put it down to?

When discussing condensation I try to depersonalise the issue - it's not that something someone is doing is "wrong". It is that they need to manage the effects of doing that vapour producing "thing" in this particular property.

Rather than being just a sign of poor maintenance, condensation is often a result of improvements - draught proofing, insulation or double glazing. Or blocking an annoying chimney draught. Simple actions can overcome it, like drying clothes in the bathroom with the extractor on. Opening windows. Even running the cold water in your bath before you run the hot water (reduces vapour by about 90%).

The landlord can also do their bit - e.g. bathroom extractors which are on trickle all the time, window frame vents. But when most people manage to live in a particular property without any problem - should it really be on the landlord's shoulders to install a full condensation management system just so that the occupant does not need to open a couple of windows once a day?

My own house suffers no condensation - but then it is old with rattly ill fitting windows and gaps under the doors. It is also quite cold in winter and hot in summer. The flats I let are all double glazed and well insulated conversions which only need the heating on for about three months of the year.

Being irked is perhaps missing the point a bit.

adam prospect

20:21 PM, 16th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Tenants left a flat last month (a month early due to an unplanned baby arrival) and I asked them to leave it immaculate to help me out.

They did - but they left the kitchen walls to highlight the 'damp'. The kitchen walls were black and some other rooms I could see mold spots.

2 days to air. 1 day of cleaning and anti mold solutions then 1 day painting with a better quality paint and it was sorted. Not ideal but I would tend to class as wear and tear and move on rather than trying to prove anything.

These tenants were genuine, paid well, cleaned the flat other than the walls and even had little dehydrators on windsills - they were inexperienced and things like showering or cooking without opening a window were probably the cause.

The previous tenant (for 7 years and she had a child) never had an issue.

i guess I took the view that whilst it was their fault....they were genuine and on balance I felt it was not deliberate or laziness. Rather just their lifestyle and my flat not being a great fit.

Dr Monty Drawbridge

23:54 PM, 16th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "adam prospect" at "16/03/2016 - 20:21":

It is not a crime to be inexperienced and we should be understanding to some extent when these things happen, depending on the circumstances. But if the kitchen walls turned black I'd expect to be told so that something could be done about it before significant damage occurred. Even if they were not aware that they were causing the problem, they were clearly well aware that there was one. And a serious one at that, from your description. It strikes me as strange that it did not occur to them to contact you, or that they chose not to. Negligent, perhaps.

You seem to be sure it was their fault. In which case, genuine or not, you would have been well within your rights to charge the remedial costs to them. Fair enough that you decided not to. But I doubt that I would negatively judge anyone who decided otherwise.

1 2

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

Waltham Forest Council uncover Rent to Rent Scammer

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More