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When Should I Complain About Damp?

18 January 2024

A bad experience in your home can be hard, but it can be made worse if you’re having to cope with a landlord, or housing association that is being less than cooperative.

So, if you have damp in your home and have found that no action has been taken, when should you complain, and who to?

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Need to Discover Why your Property has Damp?

Make Sure You Speak to the Properties Owner or Manager

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In many cases people look to complain about damp or condensation in their property without either looking at ways they can better control it themselves, or even by speaking to the landlord or property manager first.

So, before anything else, you should learn if the problem you are experiencing could be influenced by your own actions. Condensation, for example, is a problem mainly brought about by the way in which people in the property act, combined with a lack of ventilation options.

Looking into how you can better control the condensation in your property may well lead to you discovering how to best solve your damp problem, and might completely solve your grievance before you even need to complain.

However, if you do try to reduce your condensation, for example, and it doesn’t work, then you will know for certain that you have tried all you can before escalation, potentially saving a relationship, time, and keeping you in good stead with your landlord.

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Complaining About Damp to Your Landlord

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If you have tried everything in your power to reduce the damp in the property (within your legal limits as a tenant and not going beyond what your permitted to do by the landlord), then it may well be time to complain to your landlord about damp levels in the property.

If you want to keep things informal, you can do just that by talking to them in person or on the phone, going through your problem conversationally rather than via an official complaints process. This might be a good first step, and it could well avoid further conflict if you manage to resolve the problem together at this stage.

However, if you fail to reach a solution together then it could well be time to make a formal complaint.

If you do want to make a formal complaint about damp, then it will be best to do it in a written format. An email may well be best, with both a write up of the complaint in question alongside any evidence you have of your own actions attempting to remedy the problem, and referencing any attempts to unofficially solve the problem.

Of course, this is just a complaint. Whether or not it is followed up on very much remains in the landlords hands, and even if the complaint is acted upon there is always a chance that the resolution might not be a lasting, suitable, or proper one.

So, what can you do if even after you have complained, the problem remains?

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Need Help With Condensation in Your Home?

Complaining to the Council about Damp

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Complaining to the council is only a possibility if the damp problem in question poses a threat to your health and safety, for example if a condensation issue is contributing to the growth of black mould.

So, in this instance you would be within your rights to contact the council and ask for their help in seeking a resolution to the damp problem – but remember, the council can only help when health and safety is a factor.

The council can force your landlord to take action in this instance, and at this point many people find that the problem has been dealt with in a comprehensive and satisfactory manner.

However, the sad fact is that sometimes, the damp problem is not treated correctly, and that despite being instructed to by the council the landlord has failed to act as they should. It is at this point you may contact the housing ombudsman.

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Complaining to the Housing Ombudsman About Damp

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The housing ombudsman is a free service, available to those who wish to complain about the way in which their landlord has ‘resolved’ whatever issue has been raised. This can mean that the landlord’s response or repair timescales were not met, that the issue continues despite works having taken place, or even if work was promised and then not completed correctly.

The housing ombudsman service will work towards a lasting resolution, considering the arguments both you and your landlord put forward regarding the handling of your complaint up until that time.

You can find plenty of information on the Housing Ombudsman’s website regarding how to best submit a complaint, but please remember that this is a last resort to be invoked if the council’s efforts have not produced a meaningful solution, and the damp is still appearing even after your landlords intervention.

How Can I Be Sure I Need to Complain?

Complaining about anything in a property to a landlord can be an intensely stressful situation, and may potentially lead to a fractured relationship. It stands to reason then that before you start any official proceedings that you are completely sure the damp problem in your property isn’t something you are responsible for, and is instead down to a defect in the property itself.

You can always book a survey with our team to remove all doubt about the cause of the damp in question. When we deliver our report, it can be used to back up your position when speaking to a landlord or moving towards making a complaint if the cause of the damp is indeed down to a fault in the property rather than anything else.

Just call 0800 288 8660, or fill in the contact form below and a member of our team will be in touch with you to talk through your needs and arrange a survey at a time that suits you.