ALL landlords are obliged to maintain their properties in good condition. This applies to social housing and also to privately rented tenancies.

Tenants are entitled to live in homes free from damp, and to have essential repairs carried out within a reasonable time.

If you are living with dampness in your tenancy, you can force your landlord to carry out the repairs necessary to eradicate the problem.

The first step is to formally request that repairs are carried out and to make sure full information is given to the landlord about the problem, and the effects of it.

It is a good idea to make your complaint in writing and to keep copies of the letter(s) you send.

You should write to the landlord with all of the information, including photographs, and details as to the effect living in a damp property is having on your property, your health, and your general wellbeing.

You should call upon your landlord to investigate the problem, to share the outcome of that investigation with you, and to insist on required repairs within a reasonable time.

If your landlord refuses or delays to effect repairs, you should seek legal advice.

Your solicitor can assist you in gathering evidence, including expert evidence as to the cause of the dampness and the means by which it can be eradicated; medical evidence as to the effect upon your health and wellbeing, and whether this is related to the dampness within your home; and can advise you on applying to your local court for an order forcing the landlord to carry out the necessary repairs.

As well as ensuring that repairs are attended to, your solicitor can also assist you in claiming compensation for damage to your property, your health, and the inconvenience you have suffered as a result of your landlords’ failure to maintain your tenancy in a habitable condition.

If you have not been able to use part or all of your home because of dampness, or because repairs have not been carried out, you can also claim a refund of rent paid, and a reduction on your rent until repairs are carried out.

You should not withhold rental payments, however, without seeking legal advice.

Legal aid is available, depending on your financial circumstances, to enable you to meet the cost of instructing your solicitor and raising court proceedings against your landlord.

If you are living with dampness, take action today.