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Bathroom totally ruined with mould

Property fully refurbished to a high standard. Bathroom non existent when house purchased so all walls bare, clean, dry etc. Would never have purchased a damp property. First lot of tenants stayed 6 months no problems. Second set of tenants stayed 7 months no problems. (And lived in the house ourselves for short periods in between lets) The tenants now, after only three months, mould was starting to appear. Gave instructions via agent who was inspecting every three months. Heard nothing more so assumed it was no longer an issue. Had tenants contact me recently with a video of extensive mould everywhere. We are horrified. All around top of ceiling, in the grouting and silicone. Having a mould allergy myself this is a subject close to my heart and which I have researched. To totally get the mould out I believe the tiles will have to be removed, the whole room sprayed and retiled. There is a brand new heating system plus radiator in bathroom and a window. Back door also right outside bathroom so could easily open door for a few minutes to ventilate. Tenants are saying ‘cheap silicone’ will create mould so clearly not going to want to pay for remedial work. House is up north so small rental payments. We are caring landlords for tenants and the house. If we have to refurbish the bathroom again after only two years this really isn’t cost effective for us. Also am finding it impossible in our area to find anyone who does mould removal. Have someone supposedly attending the property next week who installs the PIV at a cost of £300. Will we have to pay for surveys etc. to prove there’s no rising damp etc.? Obviously don’t want the confrontation etc. but really don’t believe this is our fault. Anyone had a similar experience?

Mould is often caused by lack of ventilation and/or heating. Are these the only tenants who have lived there during the winter?

Do you have a humidity fan in bathroom?

Hi. Thanks so much for your reply. No the others have lived there for part of the winter too. House was so clean and dry when purchased which was the exact reason we purchased. They haven’t said a word until now but have managed to ask (twice) for a rent reduction! Honestly don’t believe we should be liable but suppose will need to prove and am guessing the only way is with a survey? Then it would show up if anything was wrong with the building too. Thank you.

Hi. Thank you for replying. There is a fan, but a basic one, a window and radiator and back door by the bathroom. Mould needs removing and have ‘environvent’ attending the property next week. Only bought the house because it was so clean and dry.

usually mould is because a tenant has washing in the bathroom with no window open. Either intentional or in ignorance. A humidity fan operates when it senses moisture so no open window

Hi Colin,
Thanks again.
Suppose they don’t really care. Rushing around in the morning to go to work don’t bother to open a window etc. washing everywhere. As I said we have ‘environvent’ coming to install what I believe you mentioned, is a permanent dehumidifier type machine as I understand it. I have accepted that this will be expense to me as this is what tenants do and I want to keep the property in good order.
Should I ask them to pay and make good the damage with the mould they didn’t bother reporting? If they had reported it when first spots starting appearing it would have been easier and cheaper to deal with. Really try to maintain good relations with tenants but they will not like me asking them to make good. Should I get a survey to make sure there in fact nothing we have missed with the house? Thank you to anyone who can help.

Hi Mr T this is tricky, asking them to pay.Envirovent do the best fan. I went to a landlords demonstration meeting . it is powerfull . However a fan has to have a fused spare connection so you need to tell the tenant they must leave the fused spare alone. Personally I would just bite the bullet .At least you can set the expense against tax Regards Colin

Thanks very much for your help Colin. The joys of it all!

Had a place up north. Sold it. Little rent, no rise in value and always problem with cold etc.
Try using bleach to remove mould. Get someone to do it. It works wonders.
Some Mark’s will not go but at least new mould will not grow where the bleach is in situ.
Bite the bullet and get it done. We are all victim of the political swing towards the tenants (there are more tenants than landlords so it is a vote bank).
Get it done and move on.

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Hi. Thank you. The trouble I am also having regardless of fault, cost etc. is actually finding someone to remove it. Property in Liverpool. Even had trouble getting ‘envirovent’ appointment and that’s not until December. Spoke with the Mould Doctor company who do not work in Liverpool but have a few franchises around the country. He told me there are not any such services in our area. It is too extensive and hazardous to remove ourselves with bleach. Had mould removed in our own house (down South) it was there when we moved in, and a guy attended, who sprayed it all with professional equipment and solution. So not sure who to contact, if anyone would know this please? Thank you.

Mr T I am in Liverpool also There is an envirovent fan that you can buy from Target Electrical It is powerfull. then get elec man to fit. Dont know about the mould tho as I dont have that problem any where

Hi Colin,
Fancy you being in Liverpool too! My son is the landlord (Mr. T) I do most of the house managing, for my maternal sins. Being new here, I was reading some back posts and noted somewhere you mentioned you were a builder of 50 years plus, standing.
I will look them up, thank you very much, as I say we are struggling to find people. (Have also posted on My Builder but no responses) The actual company we have attending is December I called ‘Envirovent’ so have no idea of the actual machine etc. but we are coming to Liverpool next week to attend the visit and will probably be doing our best with the mould seeing as no professional mould removal company exists locally.
Just to clarify, any electrician would be able to fit it? Also, to pick your brains, the tenants have sent video of the mould, all around the top of the ceiling and tiles. Is it possible the mould spores could have migrated behind the tiles? It is also all in the grouting too. Will we have to remove all the grouting and silicone do you think? Thank you.

Hi silicone is notorious for atracting mould no matter how expensive the tube. the grouting can be gouged out 3mm or so Then re done. These fan turn themselves on as they have a humidity sensor. They need a 100mm hole with a core bit thru the wall and connected to a fused spare. I fit my own when I renovate. Its worth saying that an insulated wall helps a gret deal. Also double glazed windows should have a trickle vent. But the tenant has to use them! cut silicone out and redo

Hi Mr T
We had the same problem in our Bathroom and removed the mould ourselves using spray on Mould and Mildew remover.
We tried all sorts of sprays/concoctions and found that the best one was "DETTOL anti-bacterial MOULD and MILDEW Remover" the blurb on the bottle states that it kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses. There is no need to scrub the area after spraying just leave it to do its work which takes about 5 to 10 minutes. The mould then slowly disappears as if by magic. If its still there after 15 minutes or so then give it another spray.
As it contains active bleach it’s best to not breath in the fine spray and don’t get it on your clothes or towels; it’s also best to leave the window open during its use.
The mould will slowly return after a few weeks but all you do is keep it at bay by giving it another spray as above.
I also recommend that you fit a good quality HUMIDISTAT type 12 volt bathroom extractor fan (Envirovent can supply and fit at a cost of approx £500) which is on low permanently but when it senses steam will automatically switch itself to high and automatically switch itself down to low speed again when the humidity in the room goes below a set level ie fit and forget and power usage costs is minimal.

In our rented house we have a P.I.V. (positive input ventilation) system installed (we bought the house 9 years ago with it fitted) and can testify it does stop black spot mould growth as two years ago we were between tenants and during re-decorating we switched it off and forgot to switch it back on again when the new tenants turned up. After about 6 months (during winter time) they contacted us saying that they had black mould spots on the wall and their clothes in our built in wardrobe. We were surprised as our previous two tenants who had been living there over the previous 7 years had not experienced this problem.
I cleaned/killed the mould as stated above and switched the PIV system back on and after 6 weeks the tenant contacted us to say that their mould problem had disappeared.

Hope the above info helps you.

Hi Colin.
Many thanks again. We were looking online last night at Target Electrical and also what these fans looked like and did wonder about the hole in the wall. Will the electrician make the hole? I am guessing so. Kind regards

Hi Jane12,
Thank you for your advice. The mould at present is now too extensive to be able to kill ourselves as they didn’t advise us of it.
The agent did note some 18 months previously a few spots were starting to appear and did tell them to do what you have just said and repeat every so often. Never heard a word since on the subject but have had regular contact over other matters so really don’t know why they haven’t mentioned it.
A mould expert did tell me the same thing about not wiping the mould as it spreads the spores. As does painting over it before all mould is properly killed so believe you are absolutely right about just spraying and leaving it and catching the drips with a cloth. If anyone else is reading in the same predicament.
Very useful to know about your PIV unit. Spoke with someone from Mould Doctors who doesn’t work in our area but over the telephone said these units in his opinion these units were not much good, but because of your experience will definetely consider along with our other option of the EnviroVent. Will buy the Dettol brand to do what we can, so thank you for taking the time to reply.

Hi I aqm not sure wether an electrician has a core bit as I fit my own fans. The guy at Target is called Mike . It was he who told me about the envirovent fan that Target sell under a different brand name.

I had a similar situation. but perhaps not quite as bad. I was able to remove all the mould (mostly on the ceiling) with HG Anti Mould Spray [it comes as liquid and foam. Follow instructions on the aerosol.] Suggest wearing protective clothing and masks!! Repeat as necessary.

I also installed an Envirovent humidity sensitive extractor fan - pricey, but definitely worth it.

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Hi Gil,
Thank you for your reply. Any advice welcome! Don’t know how we are going to get it removed if no one does mould removal. Does anyone out there know of any company in Liverpool please?

Also, some legal advice please. Hi Sam, are you there?
I have told our tenants in good time we will be needing access to the house with various people as the mould is hazardous. Also, we are travelling 275 miles, only have limited time as staying in hotels, so need to get the problem sorted.
Not heard back from them, but my question is, if they refuse us access are we able to gain access under an emergency repairs situation or is this only applicable if the place is flooding or burning down? Thank you all in advance.