Is it illegal to rent a property with damp?
Is it illegal to rent a property with damp? Many tenants uncomfortably accept minor dampness issues as an inevitable downside of ageing rental stock. However, at what point does a landlord letting out or continuing a tenancy in a severely moisture-affected property cross the line from unethical into outright illegal behaviour?
Defining Unfit Dwellings English and Welsh housing law deems rental homes “unfit for human habitation” if they contain Category 1 hazards under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) that pose major threats to occupant health and safety.
Chronic structural dampness, mould growth, water damage and poor insulation fall under the excess cold hazard category. Where these make homes extremely hazardous to inhabit, councils must intervene.
Unlawful Behaviour Around Letting Damp Properties Specifically, landlords act unlawfully if they:
- Knowingly let unfit dwellings without officially informing tenants of severe moisture defects
- Do not carry out required repairs within suitable timeframes when reasonably notified of hazardous damp, leaking roofs etc impeding safe occupation
- Fail to cover relocation costs if moisture requires emergency decanting during remedial works
- Retaliate against tenants who assert their legal right not to reside in unlawful hazardous conditions
Consequences can include prohibition notices, fines up to £30,000, rent repayment orders and civil suits from affected tenants.
Seeking Local Authority Assistance If landlords will not rectify serious damp incidences rendering homes unsafe, tenants should contact council environmental health teams for urgent assistance. These officers can inspect, verify unfitness and force rapid improvements with legal powers.
Allowing tenants to reside in dangerous damp conditions violates housing legislation. Authorities now take an increasingly strict approach to such endangerment.
Do not allow your landlord to get away with any form of neglect. Our team are here seven days a week to offer free help and advice.
Housing Disrepair Advice: https://housingdisrepairadvice.org/contact
Housing Ombudsman: https://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk/