You can now sue your scumbag landlord for the mould in your student house


Tenants are soon going to be able to sue their landlords for homes which are “unfit for habitation”, aka probably ninety per cent of grim student houses in the UK.

As of the 20th March, renters will be able to take their landlord to court for compensation if their property is affected by problems like mould, damp and excess cold (the proper kind, not just the stingy housemate turning off the central heating kind).

The government act that introduced this is the Homes (Fitness For Human Habitation) Act 2018, which came into effect last in March last year but only for tenancies that were signed after 20th March 2019. Now, one year on, it automatically applies to everyone.

That means you can actually claim money back for your new student house that ended up a little bit less than perfect (rats don’t count as a fun extra flatmate, stop lying to yourself), if it’s bad enough. However, if you are in the same fixed tenancy that you signed before 20th March 2019, you can’t. If it’s a new pad, go mad!

The law essentially requires that landlords are no longer allowed to let properties become old and dilapidated over time. The issues that they are now being held to account for are:

• damp and mould growth

• excess cold

• excess heat

• asbestos and manufactured metal fibres

• biocides (chemicals that treat mould)

• carbon monoxide

• lead

• radiation (from radon gas, which is airborne or in water)

• uncombusted fuel gas (leaks in gas appliances)

• volatile organic compounds (chemicals which are gases at room temperature)

• crowding and space

• entry by intruders (such as not having a lock on your front door)

• lighting

• domestic hygiene, pests and refuse (including inadequate provision for disposal of waste water and household waste)

• noise

• food safety

• personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage

• water supply

• falls associated with bath or shower

• falls associated with stairs and steps

• falls on the level (danger of falling on a flat surface)

• falls between levels (danger of falling from one level to another, for example, falls out of windows)

• electrical hazards

• fire and fire safety

• hot surfaces and materials

• collision and entrapment

• explosions

• physical strain associated with operating amenities (i.e. very heavy doors)

• structural collapse and falling elements

I don’t know how much radon gas, entrapment or explosion-related problems you might have, but you can almost guarantee running into a mould or rat problem at some point in your life. If your landlord doesn’t make a concerted effort to correct this problem, and all of the ones listed above, you can ask for compensation.

Time to gather up all of your mice and volatile organic compounds and go lawsuit crazy!