Edinburgh housing: Couple win £6,000 compensation over flat riddled with 'severe' mould

The couple demanded compensation for damage to health and belongings.
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A couple living in a flat with ‘severe’ mould which caused them migraine-like headaches has won compensation, after taking the landlord to tribunal.

Grace and Hafeez’s Edinburgh flat has a mould-riddled bedroom, which has infested clothes, bedding and furniture. The kitchen has a hole in the wall that allows a draft into the room in the already draughty flat, which has a poorly fitted door. Recently, the drains in the bathroom have been blocked causing material to back-up into the bath and sink.

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The couple said they had ‘repeatedly’ contacted letting agents Murray & Currie since February asking them to repair the damp and other problems but claim their requests were ignored. Desperate to get the mould repaired, they submitted a complaint to the First Tier Tribunal (Housing & Property) and then sought compensation from Murray & Currie, supported by tenant union Living Rent.

The flat has severe damp and mouldThe flat has severe damp and mould
The flat has severe damp and mould

A tribunal ruled that their flat does not meet ‘a basic standard of tolerable conditions’ and ordered the letting agent to carry out repairs.

Grace said: “We have been asking for months for the severe damp and mould issues in our flat to be investigated and repaired, which still hasn’t happened. The mould in the property has gotten so bad it’s spread to clothing, shoes, electronic items and furniture. We’ve lost a huge number of items that have been so badly damaged by the mould.

"Most worryingly though, our health is really beginning to suffer as a result of the damp and mould, we’ve been getting respiratory symptoms, skin reactions and migraine-like headaches. It simply isn’t acceptable that rental properties can be left in this state and that we as tenants have to suffer the consequences; financially, mentally and physically.”

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A letter of demand was sent in August 2023 but Murray & Currie said they would not comment until the tribunal case was settled. When the tribunal ruled in favour of the tenants, Murray & Currie pledged to carry out repairs specified by the tribunal.

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Following a protest with Living Rent members outside the agent’s offices on Queen Street on September 27, the couple has been awarded £6,000 in compensation. They had asked for 40 per cent rent rebate for the affected period, £2,160 for clothes and other items damaged by mould and further compensation for damage to their health.

Living Rent spokesperson Joshua Climax said: “Life for Grace and Hafeez in their apartment has been ruined by damp and mould. The tribunal has ruled that it does not meet a basic standard of tolerable conditions. With energy costs sky high and the general cost of living crisis ongoing, tenants often simply can’t afford heating as a solution, especially when damp is paired with drafts and poor insulation.

“Major action is needed to overhaul our housing stock. Private and social landlords need to take thorough inventory of their holdings and fix all cases of damp and mould. They must compensate tenants for time subjected to damp and mould, including any health problems arising from the state of their housing. Substandard housing is not acceptable in any case and Living Rent will continue to fight for safe, warm homes for all.”

Murray & Currie have been contacted for comment.

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