Tenant just moved into a flat with appalling damp problem


Me and my flat mate currently moved into a property three weeks ago, and we have noticed dampness on the walls especially in my room. I brought this to the attention of my landlord, and he came to paint over it. Now the dampness is spreading fast, it is on my clothes and shoes, in the kicthen and bath room, we have called the council to come and view our house. In the mean time I have been feeling sick, cough, sore throat, itchy eyes, sneezing.

We are so disgusted we want to move out. Would this be possible, even though our contract states we can not move out until we have been in that property for 5 months  Anon


There is a little known old rule that says if a property is unfit for habitation then you can move out so long as you do it promptly, generally this means before you have paid the first months rent.
‘Unfit’ will generally now means that the property will have a category 1 hazard under the Housing Health and safety Rating System - the inspection system used by Local Authorities.
If you want to use this rule you should act quickly - however you need to be careful as if you move out when it does not apply, your landlord will be able to sue you for the rent. You may be able to get some free advice from you Local Authority Environmental Health Dept. You can find your local authority contact details in our Local Authority Directory.
Damp can sometimes be the fault of the tenant through not using the property properly - ie not heating it and drying clothes indoors and you need to be sure that this is not the case here.
If you are certain it is the property, then you may also be able to bring a claim for personal injury using a no win no fee solicitor. Or alternatively you could use the threat of this to negotiate an agreement allowing you to move out now without penalty. 4 August 2012



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