How To Claim Compensation From A Landlord Housing Or Council For Rising Damp

Rising damp compensation claims guide

Rising damp compensation claims guide

Have you experienced rising damp in a rental property, and had it caused damage to some of your personal possessions? If you have reported damp to your landlord and they have failed to fix it, leading to the destruction or damage of your personal property, you could make a claim for compensation. But what if rising damp has led to you suffering ill-health? Could you then make a personal injury claim for rising damp compensation? The guide aims to answer questions such as this, as well as explaining common rising damp signs, rising damp causes and whether a landlord could be held responsible for rising damp. We’ll also cover rising damp treatment options, including how to treat rising damp in an old house, and how to spot whether damp is rising damp or condensation, as this could affect a claim for compensation. If you have questions arising from anything you read on this page, or you wish to begin a claim for rising damp compensation, then please do get in touch with us on 0800 073 8801. Before you do so, why not read the below guide for useful information on making such claims.

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A Guide To Rising Damp Claims Against Landlords

When it comes to claiming compensation from a landlord, there are a few reasons you may wish to do so. Your landlord is responsible for ensuring the property you rent from them is in a good state of repair (liveable condition) and if there is damage to the property, they should act to fix it in a timely manner, so that it does not cause harm to you. If they fail to do so, then you may be within your rights to claim compensation if you have suffered physical harm or financial harm due to housing disrepair. In this guide, we will talk over the types of damp that could cause illness or damage to your possessions, what your responsibilities are as a tenant and what your landlord’s responsibilities are with regards to rising damp. We’ll answer questions such as:

  • What are the signs of rising damp?
  • What is rising damp caused by?
  • How can rising damp be fixed?
  • Is a landlord responsible for damp?
  • And more…

Here at Accident Claims, we could help provide a personal injury solicitor to you if you suffered ill-health due to rising damp and you were eligible to make a claim for compensation. Nearer the end of this guide, we will tell you about the services we offer and the support we could give to claimants. We also provide some more reading material at the end of the guide in our resources section.

What Is Rising Damp?

When water in the ground rises into the bricks and mortar of the walls of a property, via capillary action, then this could be considered rising damp. In essence, it could be possible for the walls to soak up groundwater in the same way as a sponge could soak up water. It could cause damage to the structure of a building and could lead to mould forming. Mould is a fungus and could damage or even ruin some items within a property such as electrical appliances, clothes, soft furnishings, books and more. Mould could also cause harm to the health of people in the property if they become exposed to it by touching it or inhaling mould spores. Pre-existing respiratory conditions could be worsened by damp and mould, as can allergies. Because mould and damp could cause such harm, it would be in a landlord’s best interests to try and avoid it occurring within a rental property. There are different ways in which damp could be avoided. Treating damp that has already occurred swiftly and full would also be within a landlord’s best interests to avoid being liable for a rising damp claim.

What Causes Rising Damp

If there is not a properly installed damp proofing course beneath the property’s walls it could be considered naturally susceptible to damp. This is because capillary action means the porous bricks and mortar soak up groundwater until the water reaches around 1.2m high while seeking a means of evaporation. Once this height is reached it would naturally fall down again because of gravity. It is not usual to find damp higher than 1.2m, although salt deposits could be found higher due to less breathable materials being used on the walls, including vinyl wallpaper, some paints, non-breathable plasters, and render.

What Are The Signs Of Rising Damp?

There are certain signs that a property may have rising damp. These could include:

  • A tide-mark up to one metre higher than the skirting boards in the property
  • A tide-mark on the outside of the property
  • The presence of black mould on the walls
  • Peeling wallpaper
  • Decay of the skirting boards
  • Salt deposits in plaster
  • And more…

It may be possible for rising damp in paint to be spotted, but it would be important to differentiate moisture in the paint to moisture in the bricks of the walls to make an accurate diagnosis of rising damp.

How To Treat Rising Damp And Mould

There could be some argument between tradespersons on the best rising damp treatment for properties. This would depend on the results of a survey as to where and how badly the property is affected by rising damp, as well as the age of a property. The method that has the cheapest damp treatment cost in the UK is where a silicone-based chemical material is put into the walls of the property. Holes would be drilled into the walls in a band and the chemical would then be injected into the holes.

Other treatment options may be the installation of Electro Osmotic systems or damp membrane installation.

Of course, once a new damp proofing system is put in, it would be necessary to treat the other symptoms of rising damp, such as removing plasterwork that has been contaminated by salt, rotten woodwork and more.

What Happens If You Leave Rising Damp?

If rising damp is not treated, it could cause a lot of damage to the structure of your property. It could also destroy plaster and decoration such as paintwork and wallpaper, could rot woodwork and of course cause mould, as we have previously mentioned.

Landlords Responsibilities Under The 1985 Landlord And Tenant Act

Under the 1985 Landlord and Tenant Act, it is stated that the exterior and structure of a rental property should be kept in good water by the landlord of the property. This is under section 11 of the Act, which states a landlord’s responsibilities towards the repair of the property. Because rising damp is a structural problem within a property, it would be the landlord’s responsibility to prevent it where possible and treat and repair it when it was found within their rental property. Otherwise they could be liable for rising damp compensation claims from tenants that have been harmed either physically or financially by the damp.

Landlords Liability For Rising Damp And Mould

When it comes to damp and mould, a landlord is responsible for acting on reports of damp and securing a diagnosis of what type of damp they are dealing with. Any damage caused the property by damp is a landlord’s responsibility to repair if the property isn’t watertight. A property can let in water due to:

  • Cracked window panes
  • Poor insulation
  • Insufficient damp proofing
  • Cracks in external walls
  • Blocked guttering
  • And more…

If rising damp exists within properties and landlords do not fix such issues, these incidences could lead to rising damp claims against landlords from tenants that have been caused harm, either through ill-health caused by mould or damp or because they have had to replace or repair their personal possessions when they have been damaged by rising damp and mould.

Tenants Responsibilities For Treating Mould And Rising Damp

A tenant’s responsibility towards damp and mould could exist for damp caused by condensation, and not for rising damp, as rising damp is a structural problem. Many activities we perform every day could cause moisture to be released into the air within a property, and if a property is not ventilated properly, then it could lead to mould developing.

Actions that could cause condensation with poor ventilation could include:

  • Having hot showers
  • Boiling kettles
  • Cooking on the stove
  • Drying clothes inside (without a vented tumble dryer)
  • Not having heating on throughout the colder months of the year

If you’re unsure as to whether you could make a claim for harm you have suffered from damp because you’re unsure as to whether it is rising damp or condensation damp, we’d be happy to talk to you about the steps you could take to ascertain if your landlord is responsible for damp.

How Could Rising Damp Affect Your Health?

There are a variety of ways in which rising damp could affect someone’s health. By its nature, damp is excess moisture, and where there is excess moisture and the conditions allow it, there could also be mould too. Mould and damp could cause problems to a person’s health, which could include allergic reactions, which may present as skin rashes, dermatitis, or respiratory illnesses. The reason that rising damp and mould could cause such a reaction is that mould produces allergens. It could also produce toxic substances and irritants too.

If these substances are touched or inhaled, they could cause a reaction. Some people are more susceptible to mould and damp, including:

  • Those people who are more likely to suffer from a reaction to damp and mould could be:
  • Those who have weakened immune systems – They may have an autoimmune condition or may have had chemotherapy
  • Those who have pre-existing respiratory problems such as asthma, and allergies
  • Those who have pre-existing skin conditions such as eczma
  • Those who are very young or very old

It would be best for those in the above categories to avoid mould and damp altogether.

Rising Damp Damages Claims Calculator

In the table below, we’ve put together an alternative to the standard personal injury claims calculator that you might find on some sites. We have done this in order to give you a snapshot of some of the guideline amount for illnesses relating to rising damp. If you cannot see the type of illness you have suffered below, then you can always give us a call and we’ll happily talk you through the Judicial College’s Guidelines for your illness.

Illness/InjuryNotesPayout bracket
Dermatitis in both of your handsDiscomfort, cracking and soreness, leading to psychological issues may be included in this bracket. Work capability and the ability to perform domestic tasks may be affected.£12,900 to £18,020
Dermatitis in one or both of your handsSymptoms could last for some significant period of time, but the use of special gloves and other treatments may be effective over time.£8,110 to £10,710
Asthma - SevereClaims in this bracket would be for severe asthma which disables the claimant. Disturbances to sleep could be caused by regular coughs, and this could lead to loss of enjoyment of life and potential restrictions on a person’s ability to work.£40,410 to £61,710
Asthma - ChronicChronic asthma causing breathing difficulties. An uncertain prognosis could fall under this bracket.£24,680 to £40,370
Wheezing/BronchitisThis may take a few years to recover from and would have an impact on work/social life£18,020 to £24,680
Asthma - MildClaims in this bracket could arise from the inhalation or vapours that irritate the respiratory system.£9,990 to £18,020

It would be prudent for us to mention here that the amounts above are only a guideline. A claim’s worth could only be worked out after a medical examination has taken place by an independent medic, and all evidence has been collated and studied.

We should also mention that within personal injury claims, there is a personal injury claims time limit that should be factored in. Usually, the limit is three years from the date of diagnosis or discovery that a diagnosis of ill-health is related to rising damp. If you are at all unsure about how long you could have to make a penetrating damp claim, we could clear this up for you.

Additional Forms Of Compensation You Could Claim For Rising Damp

As well as claiming rising damp compensation for your ill-health, you could also put in a claim for costs you’ve faced because of damaged or destroyed items. In addition, you may also be able to claim the following in special damages if costs or losses have arisen directly because of the ill health that was caused to you by rising damp:

Earning loss – Should you have had to have time off work, recovering from damp and mould relating illnesses, then you might have been paid less than you would normally receive from your employer. These losses could be claimed for as part of a rising damp claim.

Care costs – If you were unable to look after your children or yourself because of your illness, then costs for care could be included.

Medical costs – Prescription charges and other medical costs may be claimed for too

Travel costs – Costs that arise directly from the ill-health you’ve suffered could include hospital parking charges, travel to medical appointments and more…

If you have incurred any charges directly relating to your rising damp illness, then do let us know what they are and we could look into whether you could claim for them.

No Win No Fee Rising Damp Compensation Claims

If you decide you would like to make a rising damp claim against your landlord, then doing so on a no win no fee basis might be a good decision. A no win no fee claim is taken on under a conditional fee agreement, or CFA, that you would sign right at the beginning of your claim, before your lawyer begins to act on your behalf. This document would lay out the conditions under which you would be required to pay your lawyer, and the amount (as a percentage of any settlement you’d receive) you would need to pay. This payment would not need to be paid upfront. Instead, it would be deducted from your settlement once it was paid out. The maximum percentage that a lawyer can ask you to agree to is 25% of your settlement, and no more. If they fail to win compensation for a valid rising damp claim, then you wouldn’t be required to settle the fees mentioned in the agreement.

If you’d like to know more about how you could make a personal injury claim or damaged belongings claim under a no win no fee agreement, then we’d be delighted to talk to you in more detail about this. All of the solicitors we work with operate on a no win no fee basis.

Why Choose Our Team To Help You Claim Against A Landlord?

With years of experience in helping claimants with all manner of personal injury and other damages claims, we’re in a great position to offer you advice and support, and we won’t charge you for it either. All of the advice we give is free of charge, and comes with no obligation to use our services, and you don’t have to act on our advice if you decide you do not want to.

When you get in touch with us, we’ll probably ask you a few questions about your situation, as there may be a few things we need to know before we can give you advice. If we don’t feel that you would have a strong case, we would not give you false hope. You’ll find our advice honest, and transparent. If we tell you anything you don’t understand, then please do ask us to clarify what we’ve told you – we like claimants to be fully aware of all of their options at all times.

If, after assessing your situation, we decide it may be appropriate to offer to provide you with a lawyer, then we would do so, but you don’t have to take us up on this offer. However, we pride ourselves on the quality of the solicitors we work with and we’d be sure to provide you with an appropriate one for your case if you would like us to.

Speak To Our Team About Your Rising Damp Claim

You can talk to us any time about a rising damp claim. We can be reached in a number of ways, including:

Via email – office@accidentclaims.co.uk

Via phone – 0800 073 8801

Via our contact form

Via our Live Chat

Whether it’s via email, phone or chat, we’ll be happy to give you guidance and support on making a claim against your landlord for rising damp.

Essential References

Claims Against The Council – Was the Local Authority to blame for housing disrepair? If so, this guide may be of interest.

Housing Disrepair Claims– We have also produced a general guide on disrepair.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – If your landlord has failed to maintain the state of your gas heating system, then you may be able to make a claim for carbon monoxide poisoning if you have suffered from it.

Medical Resources

Damp And Mould – NHS – Here, the NHS provide advice on health issues that can stem from damp or mould.

Getting Rid Of Damp And Mould – Another NHS resource on ridding a property of damp and mould.

British Medical Journal – Damp And Mould – Some useful information about health risks from damp and mould.