Private tenant information

Have your say on the proposals to renew selective licensing of private rented properties in Redbridge

 

Private rental guidance for tenants

If you are a tenant renting from a private landlord or managing agent, you may sometimes experience issues with the property you rent or with your landlord.  The London Borough of Redbridge as the local housing authority may be able to assist you to resolve some of these issues.  

What we can do:

  • We can ensure that any service request complaint receives an acknowledgment within no more than ten days.
  • Where an urgent property inspection is required we will undertake that inspection no more than 3-5 days from that assessment being made.
  • Where a property inspection has been undertaken and Category 1 hazards are identified, your case will be prioritised and we will write to your landlord.
  • Where reparatory or compliance works are required by your landlord, we will require no more than 28 days for the commencement of those works.
  • Where a landlord fails to commence required works under informal notice. We will serve an Enforcement Notice requiring no more than 28 days for the commencement of those works, and no more than a further 28 days for completion.
  • Where a landlord fails to comply with the requirements of an Enforcement Notice. The matter will be considered for litigation.

Some of the matters we can address are:

What is condensation? 

There is always some moisture in the air, even if you cannot see it.  If the air gets colder it cannot hold all of the moisture in the air, even if you cannot see it.  If the air gets colder it cannot hold all of the moisture and tiny drops of water appear.  This is condensation. You can see it when you breathe on a cold day, or when the mirror mists over when you have a bath. Washing, people breathing, cooking and drying clothes are all things that put extra moisture into the air inside the house.  

An average family makes about 20 pints of water vapour in just one day. This vapour stays in the air in warm rooms but condenses back into water when it touches cold surfaces like windows or bathroom walls.

Why is condensation a problem?

The water formed by condensation can be damaging to your home and your health. Excess moisture encourages rot in wooden objects like doors and window frames and spoils decorations. It can provide ideal conditions for mould especially mildew which causes black patches on walls and fabric. Some mould spores (the microscopic dust given off as a kind of seed) can be bad for your lungs. Condensation and damp can affect people’s health and may also damage internal decoration, clothes and furniture.

Condensation or damp?

It is important to be able to tell the difference between damp caused by condensation and damp caused by other factors such as rising damp. rainwater coming in, plumbing problems or poor drainage.

  • Condensation tends to get worse in cold weather. The other types of damp (apart from plumbing leaks) tend to get worse in wet weather.
  • Condensation tends to form patches of mould with blurred, soft edges rather than a stain mark.
  • Condensation occurs when the air and/or surfaces are cold and when the moisture content of the air is high.
  • Condensation mould tends to appear where there is little movement in the air for example behind wardrobes and cupboards.

Other causes of damp include:

  • Leaking pipes, wastes or overflows rain seeping through the roof where a tile or slate is missing.
  • Rising damp due to a defective damp course or because there is no damp course.

Where it can happen

Condensation happens most on the cool parts of walls, particularly on outside walls where there is not much air movement.  It often appears as a dark patch in corners near the skirting and on the ceiling.  The sidewalls of windows, are often affected, as they can be even colder.  Areas with poor ventilation can be prone to condensation.

How to avoid condensation

1. Produce less moisture 

  • Cook with the kitchen door closed and the window open.
  • Dry clothes outside if possible. If clothes are being dried inside, dry them in the bathroom with the door closed and the window open or fan on.
  • In the bathroom always keep the door shut during use after use keep the door shut and open the window to let the steam out.
  • Vent any tumble dryers to the outside, unless it is self-condensing.
  • Cover pans and do not leave kettles boiling.
  • Avoid using a paraffin or Calor gas heater to dry clothes.

2. Ventilate to remove moisture

  • Where practicable keep a small window ajar or use a trickle vent when a room is being used.
  • Airbricks have holes in them to help ventilation in the house.
  • Make sure that air bricks and double glazing vents are clear.
  • If you are blocking up a fire place, fit an air vent to the flue of the chimney.
  • When using the kitchen or bathroom open the window wider. If possible use humidistatically controlled fans in the kitchen and bathroom. These come on automatically and are cheap to run.
  • Close the kitchen and bathroom doors when these rooms are in use. A door closer will help prevent moisture reaching other rooms which are often colder and more likely to get condensation.
  • Ventilate cupboards and wardrobes and avoid over filling them as this stops the air circulating. Cut breather holes in doors and in the back of wardrobes and leave space between the back of the wardrobe and the wall. Where possible position wardrobes and furniture against internal walls.
  • If new windows are installed make sure that they have trickle ventilators incorporated in the frame.

3. Insulate, draught proof and heat your home. (If you are in rented property you may have to ask your landlord if he can carry out the improvement works.)

  • If your home has cavity walls, then you should consider having insulation injected into the walls. This must be carried out by an approved contractor.
  • Secondary or double-glazing helps but is an expensive option. There are cheaper options for those who can manage a bit of DIY. Check your local store. You must ensure that on completion the room can still be ventilated easily.
  • If you already have a simple extractor fan for your bathroom, consider fitting a time switch so that it will come on automatically. If it is connected to the light switch people will not forget to use it.
  • Insulation in the loft (including the loft hatch) draught proofing of windows will help keep your home warm and you will have lower fuel bills as well. When the home is warmer, condensation is less likely.
  • Check for slipped or missing tiles and slates and for damage to flat roof coverings.
  • In cold weather keep low background heating on all day even when there is no one at home.
  • Do not draught proof rooms where there is condensation or mould, as this will make the problem worse.
  • Certain draught proofing work and window replacement requires building regulations approval.  Call Building Control on 020 8554 5000 for further advice.
  • Make sure that the DPC is not covered by soil, (for example, raised flower beds).

 4Adequate heating in your home.

  •  Make sure your home is heated to a temperature of at least 21° C in the sitting room and 18° C in all other rooms.
  • There are several organisations that can provide help and advice to ensure that your home has adequate heating and insulation to meet your needs.
  • You may think that your home needs better heating and insulation, but you aren't sure who can help or how you can afford it. Maybe you want to know if you can get help with paying your fuel bills, or you want to make a complaint about your energy supplier. Whatever your need is, there are numerous organisations and schemes in place to help you.

Sometimes there are grants available to improve heating and insulation in tenanted properties.  If a grant were available your landlord would have to give permission for work to be carried out. 

How to prevent mould

  • To kill and remove mould wipe down walls and window frames with a dilute bleach solution or fungicidal wash which carries a Health and Safety Executive “approval number”.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  Dry clean mildewed clothes and shampoo carpets. Disturbing mould by brushing or vacuum cleaning can increase the risk of respiratory problems.
  • Wipe away any surface moisture. If a paper towel is used for this purpose throw it away immediately.  If a sponge is used wring it out straight away to avoid the moisture being re-circulated.

After treatment redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint to help prevent mould recurring. This paint should not be overlaid with ordinary paints or wallpaper.

Shelter provides further advice on damp and mould in rented properties.

Further information

If you are a private sector tenant who, after following the advice contained here is still suffering from severe condensation, it is recommended that you discuss the situation with your landlord.  If your landlord is unwilling to help please contact:

Housing Standards Service

London Borough of Redbridge 

2nd Floor, Lynton House, 255-259 High Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1NY

Email: housing.standards@redbridge.gov.uk

Report Online 

  • Fire risk and prevention
  • Structural collapse
  • Electrical hazards
  • Excess cold
  • Overcrowding
  • Sanitation and drainage
  • Trip and fall hazards

 

What we can’t do:

  • Where a complaint relating to disrepair is received, we cannot intervene unless we have evidence that the matter has first been brought to the attention of the landlord, and that no efforts at reparation have been made.
  • Where a tenant complains about issues of disrepair, The Housing Standards service cannot make arrangement for alternative accommodation.
  • The role of the Housing standards service is to ensure that all private rental accommodation is compliant with minimum standards and is free from category 1 hazards. Our role is not to precipitate homelessness.
  • We cannot intervene in landlord tenant disputes which do not relate to disrepair of failure by a landlord to comply with property licensing or conditions relating to a property licence
  • Matters relating to anti-social behaviour (ASB) is dealt with by the Community Protection Team/or the Police. Where ASB relates to a licensed property the Housing Standards Team will work jointly with the Community Protection Team/or Police to assit in resolving issues.
  • Matters relating to the threat of illegal eviction is addressed by the Councils Housing Needs Service.  

 Which of the following does your dispute relate to: 

Property Licensing

Emergency Disrepair

Harassment & Eviction

Private sector landlords in most parts of the London Borough of Redbridge should hold a landlord property licence in order to operate a private rental dwelling.  All Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in 

Redbridge should be licensed, apply for a licence.

The landlord licensing scheme allows the local authority to ensure all private rentals are compliant with the standards for safe and suitable living accommodation, required the Housing Act 2004.

You should check that your landlord holds a suitable property licence for either a single family dwelling or a house in multiple occupation.

If you believe your landlord is operating with a licence you should contact our property licensing team 

prslicensing@redbridge.gov.uk

Gas leak

Report a gas leak on the National Gas Emergency Line: 0800 111 999.

 

Electricity power cut

If your electricity is cut off, you should phone your electricity supplier

If you do not know who your supplier is, visit the UK Power Networks website and select Who is my supplier?

 

Water problems

If your water is cut off, you should phone Thames Water on 0845 9200 800

You should report any leaks to your landlord.

 

 

 

To regain possession of their property a landlord must obtain a Possession Order from the local County Court. Before they can do this they must first serve you with a section 21 notice of the Housing Act 1988. This requires that you be given at least two months’ Notice before possession proceedings can be commenced.

If you are experiencing harassment or believe your landlord is trying to evict you illegally you can  contact our Housing Advice centre at Housing.Advice@redbridge.gov.uk

Advice also available from:

  • CAB
  • Justice for Tenants

(contact  details below)

 

 

 

 

 

Disrepair

If you are experiencing problems relating to disrepair, or where you believe the property you rent fails to comply with minimum standards, there are steps you can take to resolve the issue. The following provides a step by step guide on how you can achieve a resolution or otherwise how the Councils Housing Standards team will remediate by either informal intervention or where necessary by enforcement action.

Step 1

You should write to your landlord or managing agent to explain the problems that exist and allow them a reasonable period of time (minimum 14 days) to remedy these problems. You must keep a copy of any letters or emails that you send to or receive from your landlord or managing agent.

If you are not satisfied with the response from your landlord or managing agent, you should ask if they have a formal complaints procedure. If they do, we would expect you to follow that procedure before we get involved on your behalf.                                         

Step 2

If you are unable to resolve the problem at Step 1, you should contact the Housing Standards Team on Telephone number 0208 708 5000, or e-mail us at: Housing.Standards@redbridge.gov.uk We will need to see a copy of the correspondence you have sent to your landlord or managing agent, together with their response (if any).

We will then write to your landlord or managing agent to explain that a complaint has been received. We will ask them to respond to us within 14 days to explain the steps that they intend to take to resolve the issues complained of.

Step 3

If your landlord or managing agent fails to respond and the issues complained of persist, it is important that you let us know. We will then arrange a convenient time for a Housing Enforcement Officer to visit your property and carry out an inspection. Depending on their findings, we will then decide whether any formal enforcement action is required.

Where it becomes necessary for the Housing standards team to intervene due to a lack of cooperation from your landlord, we will take the following action.

Step 4

Following a property survey inspection, if we identify hazards which present a serious risk to your safety or that of your family, we will contact your landlord or managing agent. We will confirm our findings and detail the remedial action they must take to rectify the situation.

We will allow a period of 28 days for the commencement of any required reparatory works and a further 28 days for their completion.

The action we take at this stage will be proportionate to the disrepair identified, allowing your landlord a reasonable opportunity to undertake the repairs required. However, we will also advise your landlord of the legal requirement to comply and the risk of a financial penalty or prosecution for non-compliance.     

Step 5

If following the period detailed in step 4, your landlord has not addressed the disrepair, you must contact the Housing Standards officer dealing with your service request.

The matter will now be dealt with formally with the service of an Enforcement Notice. This will again allow your landlord a period of 28 days to commence reparatory works and a further 28 days for their completion. However, failure to comply at this stage may result in the issuing of a financial penalty or prosecution in a Magistrates Court.

 

Emergency intervention

Where an issue of disrepair relates to a recent fire, structural collapse or other hazard that present an imminent or significant risk of serious injury. The Housing Standards team will aim to arrange for a property inspection within 24 hours of receiving your referral.

Issues requiring this response include the following:

  • Ceiling collapse with the risk of further structural collapse
  • Damage by fire
  • Serious electrical hazards

 

Co-operation With Your Landlord and Rent Payment

Whilst any complaint against your landlord is being investigated, It is important that you do not withhold your rent. This may result in your landlord or managing agent applying for possession of the property. If successful you may then be considered as intentionally homeless. You may not then be eligible for rehousing assistance from the Council. You must also cooperate with your landlord and allow reasonable access for any works to be carried out to remedy the issues that you have raised. If you do not we will no longer be able to support your request for our assistance.

 

Other Matters That May Involve the Authorities Intervention and Who to Contact

If you are a Council tenant and the matter relates specifically to disrepair, you should contact Housing Management at the Orchard Housing Office at Housing.Complaints@redbridge.gov.uk or make telephone contact with the Duty Officer on 0208 708 7652 / 7732 / 8360.

If the matter relates to anti-social behaviour, for example a neighbour dispute, noise nuisance or fly tipping you should contact the Community Protection, Anti-Social Behaviour at gm_community.safetyasbteam@redbridge.gov.uk

If the new service request relates specifically to Planning Enforcement issues, for example unauthorised building works or conversion you should contact Planning Enforcement at Planning.Enforcement@redbridge.gov.uk

 

More advice on problems with your landlord, managing agent or social housing circumstances can be found on the following organisations websites:

Justice for Tenants

www.justicefortenants.org/contact-us

info@justicefortenants.org

Citizens Advice Bureau 

Shelter

National Campaign for Homeless People Limited

Ramfel

Refugee & Migrant Forum of Essex and London

 

Tenant information pack

The tenant information pack is a great source of information, if you are already renting or are thinking about renting privately. There is useful content about how to rent, tenant rights and responsibilities and what to do if you experience any problems.

 

Advisory notice

Please note that an earlier web version and postal copy of the tenant information pack contained an error which stated that £50 could be charged for tenant referencing. This information was incorrect. Please be advised that no fees can be charged to tenants under the tenant fee ban except £50 to vary an existing tenancy. The inaccurate content has now been removed.

If you have already received a copy in the post you will be sent the revised version. 

We apologise for any inconvenience.

 

Letter templates 

The Shelter website has useful template letters that you can use to report repairs to your landlord. If you have not heard from your landlord within 10 working days, we would recommend you send your landlord a reminder letter.

Landlords should normally fix serious hazards such as a broken boiler or an electricity failure within 1 to 3 working days, but less serious hazards such as a dripping tap or broken kitchen units can be repaired over a longer timescale.

 

Advice on managing your money 

Information, advice and resources to access further help

 

Landlord Licensing in Redbridge

Most rented properties in Redbridge require the landlord to obtain a licence.  Find out more about property licensing in Redbridge.

 

Understanding the possession action process:

A guide for private residential tenants in England and Wales. Updated 7 April 2021 (GOV.UK)

 

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