Condensation Problem

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M
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A tenant in one of my GF flats is complaining about damp with fungi forming on the walls but the problem is one primarily of condensation as the wall is external & of solid brick 230mm thick. They did not inform me of this but went direct to the Council with their complain at the end of October having said the could not contact me which is untrue. It has not happened in this flat in the 5 years that it has been rented out & it was ok when they moved into the flat. The Council informed me of their complaint & I met with their Environment Officer at the flat. The council considered it condensation & noted that there were no windows open & the problem room had the radiator on the lowest heat level. They confirmed to the council that they would remove the mould but they purposely did not do so allowing the surveyors to see the damage. In response I have just had the flat surveyed by two damp proofing companies & they have confirmed a condensation problem but have also highlighted a possible area of rising damp even though it has a damp course but admittedly a little low to the external ground level & have stated that the external pointing & the felt flat roofing do not look to be in good condition. I have arranged for the damp company to insert another damp course and to insulate the walls in the room at a cost of over 3000. The tenants moved out 31 December 2015 with a further 6 months of their 12 month fixed tenancy remaining for a larger rental at lower rent. It is my opinion that they took advantage of a situation created by themselves. I said that I would release them from their contract but it must remain in place until I find an alternative tenant although my initial text to them did not clearly state this. I have since followed up with a letter confirming this. They have refused to pay me anything & are now, via a solicitor, suing me for damages although I have yet to see the details. They have the support of a builder friend who is stating that the problem is one of serious damp. No doubt they will try to reclaim the bond but there is other damage to the flat. I acted in their best interests as soon as I was aware of the situation & still intend doing the necessary work to make sure it will not happen again & am liaising with the council with this. Incidentally they have cleaned the affected walls & it now looks ok. Where do I stand legally in this situation.
03/01/2016 11:53

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