Damp and mould can be a common problem for two reasons; either the tenants aren’t heating and ventilating the property efficiently, or there is a defect in the property.
Black mould growth and condensation in your home is a sign there’s too much water in the air. As the winter approaches, you may notice more condensation on windows for example. Condensation can lead to damp and mould if not dealt with correctly but can be rectified.
If you notice mould growth, wipe down the area to clean it thoroughly and treat with an anti-fungal wash – available from hardware shops. Remember to wear rubber gloves and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
After removing mould, follow these steps to stop it from happening again!
• Promote air circulation as much as possible to help prevent mould growing on walls by opening windows. (But only when you are in, don’t leave windows open when you are out – this is a security risk!)
• Keep radiators on a low heating for a longer period of time rather than blasting out heat for a couple of hours. This will ensure heat is built up in the room and stored in the walls.
• Ensure you mop up water on windowsills and open your window, as this will turn into mould if left. Water on windowsills and condensation on windows are signs that windows need to be opened!
• Cover pans when cooking, use extractor fans, and dry clothes outdoors (in the winter dry clothes inside but open windows to remove moisture).
Your landlord has the right to take necessary costs from your deposit at the end of the year if it is evident that damp and mould was caused by the tenants so please follow the advice given here.
Rats and mice are common unwanted guests in areas that have a lot of rubbish/waste. They will eat almost anything that humans eat so ensuring there is not a readily available supply of food is paramount. They will gnaw and rip open food packets and contaminate food with urine and droppings. They can transmit diseases to humans and cause structural damage in the home, which is why they need to be controlled.
As tenants, you can help prevent infestations by taking 5 simple measures:
• Take away the food source
Clean up after meals. Rodents only need a tiny amount of food to survive, even crumbs can satisfy them. Never leave any food out, keep all opened food in sealed containers and keep bin lids closed.
• Use your waste collection service correctly
Get to know your bin days; this is your chance to get rid of potential food sources for mice. Ensure household waste is put out regularly for collection on the correct days so that it does not build up in your house or garden. Bin bags are ripped open by mice/birds because of the food inside. Using your council food waste caddy correctly can help prevent this.
• Keep the inside and outside of your house clean and tidy
Walls don’t make much difference to mice – they can squeeze through the tiniest of gaps. clean up any ripped open bags quickly to prevent mice from having a feast!
• Take care if you feed wild birds or other animals you may be feeding rats as well. Only use appropriate birder and avoid leaving feed out overnight and on the ground.
• Ensure your property is in good repair so that rats cannot gain access to it. Drain inspection covers should be in place and not damaged. Look for holes around pipes into the property or vents that aren’t fixed properly or broken. Report any problems to your landlord/letting agent.
Rats and mice are clever, but they do leave signs that they are in your home. Look for small holes in rubbish bags/food packets, droppings and gaps in walls/floorboards. Rodents tend to come out at night to look for food so listen out for scuttling/scratchy noises.
If you’ve seen any of these signs and believe you may have an issue with rats or mice, it’s important to get rid of these unwanted guests quickly, as they multiply fast!
Contact your landlord or letting agent to let them know about the problem. They may wish to control the infestation themselves, use a private company or enlist the services of Cardiff Council. Find out more about the council’s pest control service.
Cardiff Council’s Pest Control team provide services to advice, guide and treat cases involving unwanted pests. They can be contacted on 029 2087 2935 or by email: PestControl@cardiff.gov.uk
When you reach the end of your tenancy agreement, you should receive your bond back within 10 days, however disagreements may arise between landlords and tenants regarding how much of the tenants’ original deposit they should get back. As tenants, you should get your full deposit back if you meet the terms of your tenancy agreement, don’t damage the property, and pay your rent and bills. You may believe you have done all of these things, but your landlord might not agree. It is important to treat your student house with respect; this is now your home. However, if you believe you are being treated unfairly you can do the following.
If you disagree with your landlord about how much deposit should be returned, then your Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme offers a free dispute resolution service. This is why it is important to make sure you know your deposit is being protected by a scheme.
If you’re not sure whether your deposit has been protected, ask your landlord or contact the approved schemes:
Deposit Protection Service
0330 303 0030
0844 980 0290
Tenancy Deposit Scheme
0845 226 7837
For more help or information contact Cardiff Council Advice Hubs, or your University Accommodation Officer or Student Union Advisor
Shared Regulatory Services Cardiff Housing Enforcement Team can help you if you are a tenant experiencing difficulties in your privately rented accommodation.
Housing Enforcement have powers under the Housing Act 2004 to deal with health and safety hazards in privately rented properties, including but not limited to:
– Fire safety
– Trips and falls
– Damp and mould
– Kitchen and bathroom facilities
– Gas and electrical equipment
Before making a complaint to the Council, it is important that you give your landlord or letting agent an opportunity to resolve the situation. Email your landlord or letting agent with details of the problems in your property, asking them to carry out the repairs within a suitable timescale. It may be worth advising them that if they do not complete the repairs you will have no option other than to complain to Shared Regulatory Services.
If the repairs have not been completed, please contact Cardiff Housing Enforcement Team with the property address, contact details for yourself and your landlord, and details of the problems you are experiencing.
An Officer from the Housing Enforcement team will then contact the landlord/agent and notify them that they have received a complaint from their tenant and will arrange to visit you and inspect your property for hazards.
Any hazards that are identified will be assessed and where necessary the owner will be required to undertake works to reduce the identified hazards to an acceptable level.
If the owner doesn’t agree to complete the works within a reasonable timescale then the Council may take enforcement action under the Housing Act 2004 to make sure the repairs are completed.
Shared Regulatory Services – 0300 123 6696