If you receive a complaint from your tenant to tell you that your property is damp, mouldy or foul-smelling, the first thing you should do is sit down with your tenant and to discuss the issues and their needs. Ignoring the complaint or putting it down to lack of maintenance without any real investigation could cost you loss of rent, and if no action is taken to rectify the damage, it could eventually cost you the property.
Your responsibility as a Landlord
If incorrectly installed, cavity wall insulation is often the root cause of the problem but if it’s caught early, your tenant may save you a lot of money. If the problems are left to worsen over time, your property will eventually be deemed inhabitable. All it takes is one bad winter.
As a landlord you are legally obligated to ensure the safety of your tenants. Being exposed to damp and mould, the two most common implications of bad cavity wall insulation, can cause many health defects, some of which include: eye, skin and throat irritation, nasal stuffiness, coughing and wheezing. It can be especially harmful to those who are more sensitive, such as the elderly, babies and children, and people who already suffer from skin and respiratory problems, such as eczema or asthma.
Diagnosing CWI Damp
Once you have spoken to your tenant, undertake some research and take the time to inspect the property personally. Consider our six tell tale signs – is it possible that cavity wall insulation has in fact been installed incorrectly? If there is even the slightest chance that the property damage is a result of bad cavity wall insulation, something must be done straight away.
The team here at Cavity Wall Lawyers are able to assist you from this point forward. Upon receipt of the relevant documentation, we will instruct a surveyor to inspect your property. The surveyor will then write a report which will tell us a) what type of insulation was installed, b) whether the right type of insulation for the property was installed, c) whether the property originally had any defects which meant that the insulation shouldn’t have been installed in the first place, i.e. damaged brickwork, d) whether there are any voids in the cavity, allowing water to seep through thus causing mould and damp, etc. Without this report, you will never know for certain what the cause of the damage is.
How to claim
The effects of badly installed insulation can be especially frustrating for tenants. As a law firm, we can only take instruction from the homeowner which means that tenants are unfortunately limited in trying to rectify the situation themselves, so will rely on you to act fast.
If you have the supporting paperwork and your tenant has the knowledge of damage that has been caused, it’s important that you share this information with one another and understand that you both desire the same outcome.
Avoid a lack of communication between yourself and your tenant. If they feel like you are not taking necessary precaution to ensure their well-being and living conditions, they may decide to take legal action against you which of course should be avoided at all costs.