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Who is responsibility for Damp in a Rented Property

It is not always easy to work out who is responsible for sorting out problems with dampness because it is often difficult to identify the cause.

Landlords are normally responsible if the dampness is a result of leaking pipes or because a structural defect such as a leaking roof.

Some dampness is a result of condensation caused by lack of ventilation, drying wet clothes on the radiators, lack of insulation, inadequate or poor heating.

If the tenant has a problem with damp then he must check his tenancy agreement because it may say that the landlord has to fix the problem.

The landlord is responsible for repairs as a result of damp if:

  • the damp is caused by a structural defect in the property;
  • the property lacks damp proofing;
  • there is a leak (e.g. in the roof);
  • there is inadequate insulation, heating or ventilation causing condensation.

The landlord may not be responsible if the damp is caused by condensation due to the lifestyle of the tenant. Dampness can be caused if the tenant dries clothes inside rooms, uses unventilated tumble driers, does not open windows for ventilation or does not use the heating system sufficiently. In these circumstances tenants should seek advice to establish who is responsible for repairs but more than likely if there is sufficient vents and windows which can be used but you are simply not using them then the chances are the tenant is responsible.

The local authorities Health and Environmental Services may be able to inspect the property to establish what the cause of the damp if there is a problem with leaking pipes, structural problems or penetrating damp. If it has been established that the cause of the dampness is a result of condensation then representatives from the council`s Health and Environmental Services will be unlikely to inspect a property.

If the tenant feels that items are in need of repair or there are hazards that are damaging his health then the tenant should contact his landlord in the first instance. If the landlord refuses to deal with the repairs or hazard contact Health and Environmental Services. An officer will inspect the problem and where necessary, notify the landlord of deficiencies he is responsible for.


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