Q: I rent from a private landlord I’ve never met. I pay my monthly rent on time by standing order and I text him if I have a problem. For four years the roof has leaked, causing mould and fungus that has damaged my health and ruined clothes and household items. I text and he promises to sort it but never does. I am frightened to withhold the rent in case it affects my credit score and references. I don’t want to move because the rent is cheap, and the location is good. Can I sue him?
A: If the damp you are experiencing is caused by disrepair it is the landlord’s responsibility to repair it. If he does not, then you may be able to sue him. You would need to take photographs of the mould and fungus as evidence, also the damage to your belongings. An expert opinion on the type of damp in your property may be necessary to establish the cause of it as this will affect what type of claim you can make. If your health is being affected, you should ask your GP to write a report to this effect, including not just your physical suffering but also any short and/or long- term psychological effects that living in a damp environment has caused.
The first step, however, will be to send your landlord a letter before action which needs to be compliant with the relevant protocol. A solicitor can assist you with this.
Housing disrepair victims are generally entitled to maximum mould and damp compensation. Whilst every disrepair claim is different, your solicitor will be able to advise on your particular situation, but generally compensation is awarded for pain, suffering and loss of quality of life, as well as damaged possessions and other financial losses such as replacement of damaged items, loss of income to related health issues etc.
This question has been answered by Sophie Bebbington, a Legal Executive with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194