Who Is Responsible for Damp in a Leasehold Flat?

Who Is Responsible for Damp in a Leasehold Flat?
Photo Credit: Kebabknight

Who Is Responsible for Damp in a Leasehold Flat?

Damp can cause health problems and damage to your belongings. Depending on where the damp came from, it’s something that you and your landlord must fix.

The landlord is responsible for structural and cosmetic repairs, while the tenant for aesthetics maintenance and upkeep. If the dampness is caused by a leak in the building’s plumbing, defective gutters or downpipes, then your landlord is responsible for fixing it. They’ll also be liable for any damage caused by the dampness.

However, as a tenant, you are in charge of taking care of any aesthetic issues. These aesthetic issues include paint peeling in humid regions, mould growing on damp walls or floors, and wet surfaces as long as plumbing leaks have not caused them.

Therefore, learn more about what causes damp, the dangers of leaving it untreated, and how you can fix it in a leasehold flat.

Signs of Damp in a Flat

A damp apartment may have you wondering if it’s typical or if it’s a sign of a more severe problem. Here are some warning signs to watch out for:

  • Mould: If you see mould growing on any walls or floors, that’s a sign of dampness.
  • Stains on the ceiling: If you see stains on your ceiling, it may mean that moisture is entering your apartment from above and is making its way into your walls.
  • Condensation on windows: If you notice condensation on your windows, especially if this is happening outside, this may be another sign that moisture is getting into your home through improper ventilation or other issues with the building structure itself.
  • Water stains in corners or near doorways: Check for areas around doors with water stains. That could indicate leakage from above inside wall cavities and ceilings due to water damage. The water leakage could also come from below ground level, where pipes enter through concrete foundations.
  • Musty smells in your home: The foul odour is often caused by dampness and could lead to mould growth if not treated.

The Danger of Leaving Damp Untreated

You may assume dampness in your flat, but it is a silent killer and can destroy your home. Damp causes mould, which releases toxic spores into the air. These toxic spores cause respiratory and other health issues like allergic reactions as well as asthma attacks.

If you don’t treat your damp problem immediately, mould can quickly spread throughout your house. And once it’s established itself in your walls and ceilings, removing it later will be much more complicated than if you’d gotten on top of it right away.

What Causes Damp in a Flat?

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Several factors can contribute to dampness in a flat. These include:

Building Materials

Water can infiltrate the walls, floors, and ceilings if substandard materials are used in your building construction. Making matters worse is if there is no ventilation in the building, mildew and muskiness will develop.


Water vapour in an improperly ventilated environment causes dampness. The walls and ceilings of your apartment are usually where the water vapour condenses because they are the coldest surfaces. Mould will then grow due to the condensation, creating an unhealthy living environment for you and your family.

Poor Ventilation

Ventilation is essential for preventing dampness in your flat since it removes moisture from the air. If you live in an old house with poor ventilation, you will most likely have more damp problems than someone who lives in a well-ventilated flat. Try using a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture levels in your home, or install some ventilation to help with this problem if you have poor air circulation.

Leaky Windows or Doors

If you have a leaking door or window, it’s important to fix it as soon as possible. If the seal around your windows or doors isn’t tight, you may be letting in moisture from the outside that can build up inside your flat. You should keep your windows shut when it rains and open them in the morning to let any moisture out.

How Do You Fix Damp in a Flat?

Damp is a problem that can occur in most flats. Here are some tips for how to fix wetness in your apartment:

  1. Ensure that no water leaks are present in your home. If you have leaking faucets or other plumbing issues, you should fix them immediately. Doing so prevents water from seeping into your walls or flooring, eventually leading to mould growth.
  2. Keep your windows open whenever possible. By allowing air to circulate throughout your home, you can keep moisture levels low enough to prevent the growth of mould there.
  3. Check your gutters often for leaks or cracks to minimise water damage throughout the year, especially during heavy rainfall.
  4. Look for water damage on the underside of your kitchen cabinets. When mould or mildew is found, it must be treated immediately.
  5. If the dampness originates from inside the building, install a dehumidifier to lower the moisture levels in your apartment. The bathroom or kitchen, where humidity tends to be higher, would be the ideal location for this. If this doesn’t help, it might be a problem with how well-ventilated your apartment is. So check to see if any vents or openings are blocked and prevent fresh air from entering.
  6. Use anti-mould paint on porous surfaces that may be affected by dampness, such as wallpaper or wooden floors. It might help prevent mould growth and further damage from being done. However, we recommend removing any existing mould before painting it if possible.

What If the Freeholder Won’t Fix the Damp Issues?

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If your landlord(freeholder) won’t fix the damp issues, you may have to take matters into your own hands by fixing them yourself or involving the authorities.

The first step is to speak with the landlord and work it out amicably. If they don’t respond, you should contact your local council’s environmental health department and make a complaint about the problem. The council will send someone out to inspect the property and determine whether action needs to be taken.

If none of those options works, there’s a chance that you could take the freeholder to court about this issue. It would involve seeking legal advice from a solicitor and ensuring that your claim has merit.

However, the freeholder and leaseholder are responsible for any dampness in a leasehold unit because both parties have a stake in the property and must maintain it.

Although the freeholder owns the building where the leaseholder resides, they do not live there. Therefore, the freeholder must maintain or fix any damage or issues with the property’s exterior, such as leaky gutters or pipes. However, if something like leaving the taps running inside the unit causes dampness, the leaseholder is liable for fixing it.

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