Here is a quesiton to the blog clinic from Jeni who is a landlord
3 weeks ago our tenants complained that there had been damp/mould problems in the bathroom since February 2012. They only let us know when water came through the kitchen ceiling.
We sent a plumber in and he found the shower had been leaking between the wall and the bath. He pumped out the remaining water and repaired the bath seal straightway.
He believes the mould is down to the water condensing under the bath and poor ventilation – which our tenants deny.
Our tenants also told us they have resealed the bath ‘3 times with varying degrees of success’ and tried to treat the mould with various products and repainting.
Can we hold them responsible for the cost of repairs (new kitchen ceiling and re-plaster/tile half of the bathroom)? What if the deposit doesn’t cover the cost (deposit £850, repair quote £1200)? We have their ‘admissions’ in writing.
There are a number of issues here. The first perhaps is why did this matter not become known to you earlier? I would have thought it was something which should be been discovered on inspections.
If you have not been carrying out inspections, then the tenants should have put you on notice that there was a problem and given you a chance to carry out repairs. I am not a builder or surveyor, so cannot comment on the detail, but it sounds as if this is a problem which would have been less expensive if rectification works had been done earlier.
If the problem was caused by a defect in the property then the tenants will probably not initially be responsible for this, but they may be liable for any aggravation of the problem caused by their failure to notify you about it.
And also if by their actions in trying to treat it, they have actually made things worse.
If you have a claim against the tenants and this is greater than the deposit sum, then you will have to bring the claim in the County Court.