Group 28

2023-03-08 14:45:42 By : Ms. MIRA XIA

Many flats in Edinburgh suffer from mould. This is why it's dangerous - and what your landlord is legally obliged to do to fix it

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Edinburgh tenements are a hallmark of the city centre. They're nice to look at, but many of them were built in the 1800s, and are used as rental properties. They often have old-fashioned sash windows that get covered in condensation, or don't close properly.

If you live in a flat, it's harder to dry clothes outside, and the damp from your washing can leave your wallpaper peeling off, and lead to mould and mildew forming underneath.

And it's even worse in rooms where there is a lot of excess moisture like the kitchen and bathroom. And old properties often have leaking pipes, or missing tiles that can let in rain.

It's usually viewed as an unsightly and inconvenient problem, but in some cases, mould and damp can also cause major health problems - and can even be fatal for people with underlying conditions.

Asthma is a particular risk factor, as mould can bring on severe asthma attacks, which can be fatal.

Babies and children are also highly at risk due to mould, mildew and damp, as are elderly people.

This is because mould produces allergens, irritants and sometimes toxic substances that can make people seriously unwell.

Toxic black mould is also known as ‘stachybotrys’, and is usually associated with poor air quality in the home.

According to the NHS website, if you have damp and mould, you're more likely to have or develop respiratory problems, respiratory infections, allergies or asthma. 

Damp and mould can also affect the immune system.

If your property is in a state of disrepair, it can also have an effect on your mental health.

The first thing to do is find the cause and then make sure your home is repaired by contacting your landlord.

However, if it's only a small amount, you might be able to remove it yourself - but only if it's caused by condensation and covers an area less than 1 metre squared.

Don't try to remove the mould yourself if it's caused by sewage or other contaminated water.

Here's some tips on removing mould:

You can also take steps to prevent the build-up of moisture condensation by:

If the affected area is larger than one metre, you should tell your landlord about the damp problem as well as any repair issues in the property, damage to furniture and belongings, and impact on your health.

Once you've reported the problem, your landlord should organise an inspection and carry out any repairs they are responsible for.

If your landlord is refusing to repair these sorts of problems, the environmental health department may be able to help you force them to do so.

Write to your landlord warning them that if the disrepair is not fixed within a certain time limit (depending on the urgency of the problem) you will seek help from the council.

You can download a sample letter to send to your landlord.

The council's environmental health department has to inspect and take action to sort out disrepair that is causing a 'nuisance'. 'Nuisance' has a specific legal meaning here that's different from its everyday meaning. Disrepair that is causing a nuisance may:

If the problem is serious they can even order your landlord to carry out repairs or improvements or do the work themselves and charge the landlord.

Inspections are free and your complaint will be kept confidential if you wish. Once you've requested an inspection, an environmental health officer should then carry out an inspection of your home. If your landlord won't let them in, they can obtain a warrant.

If the officer thinks that the problem is likely to be harmful to your health, or cause a public nuisance, the environmental health department can give your landlord an 'abatement notice'.

If your landlord doesn't comply with the abatement notice, the environmental health department can:

If your landlord is taken to court by the environmental health department, they can be ordered to carry out the works and/or be fined up to £5,000.

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