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What Can be done about Nightmare Tenants?

Updated on November 24, 2017
Stella Kaye profile image

Stella is a full-time professional landlord and property developer with fourteen years' experience. She is based in the UK

A Severe Mould Issue Caused by a Nightmare Tenant


The Condensation Mould Was In Every Room!


Case History: Nasty Natasha, the Nightmare Tenant

The landlord has an infestation at one of his properties. Is it woodworm? No. Termites? No. Some other creature? Yes - Nasty Natasha, the nightmare tenant is gnawing away at her landlord’s bank balance.

Actually, there isn’t a bank balance as such anymore, thanks to tenants like Natasha - just an ever-increasing overdraft. She hasn’t paid a penny in rent but she’s swindled her landlord out of thousands in housing benefit provided by the taxpayer. She’s had the audacity to complain disrepair though. So how does she even think her long-suffering landlord is going to pay for any repairs when she doesn’t pay him any rent? To put it politely, is he able to miraculously extract a few gold bars from a certain bodily orifice?

Nightmare Natasha Slept Here!


Of Mould And Mattresses

Get out, Natasha! Go and live in a dog kennel because you don't deserve a proper roof over your head, thinks the landlord but in reality, he remains too lenient for his own good. And there’s not a lot he can do apart from recourse to legal action by throwing good money after bad and subject himself to long and tedious legal processes that become as burdensome as the tenant.

When he first became a landlord, he’d naively thought all would go well if he was fair and reasonable. What a noble cause to provide a home for someone! Why would anyone object to paying for the roof over their own head? But he hadn’t bargained for tenants like Natasha.

Pay your way - you can stay, is a good motto for tenants and homeowners alike. But Natasha's stance goes something like this: I’m going to stay as long as I can, and I’m going to take every opportunity to dig my heels in and play the victim. I’ve got rights and I’ll use and abuse them. The landlord’s made of money – he’s got lots of houses - why should I care.

Banks repossess; no questions asked but Natasha claims that her landlord’s repeated and reasonable requests concerning her non-payment constitute harassment. It’s an unfair world but why should responsible landlords have to tolerate notorious tenants like Natasha?

Provide someone with a home but they don’t pay or they rob you of money the council sent them to pay their rent with! Natasha belongs to this species of parasite; a veritable underclass of vermin; a drain on society. Such leeches suck the lifeblood from those doing an honest day’s work - who believe their taxes are going to the deserving poor.

Social Parasites like Natasha twist the law. They're at the Citizens’ Advice and Shelter right now with their sob stories. ‘We're under threat of eviction.Our landlord is harassing us and hasn’t done any repairs’ they complain. ‘The house is so damp and cold.’

Natasha sleeps on two mattresses on the floor which are covered in mould. The whole house is becoming mouldy throughout and there's condensation streaming down the windows. Is this the landlord’s fault that she lives in such dreadful conditions? Do you feel sorry for her?

You shouldn’t – the house was Barrat show home standard when the landlord handed over the keys. It’s all down to ignorance. For God’s sake, woman, turn some heating on – it’s the middle of winter after all!

The landlord borrows money to cover his loss but he’ll still have to increase the rents for his good tenants to compensate for Natasha's defaults. It’s always the same - those who pay their way have to compensate for parasites like Natasha.

Pay your way - you can stay!

— Stella Kaye

The Landlord's Lot is Not A Happy One

As a landlord, you can't change the locks and you can't just ask the tenant to go. You can't throw them out, even if they aren't paying the rent and are destroying your property. All thanks to a not very nice landlord called Peter Rachman. Want a prison sentence? Easy! Just throw your bad tenant out and you'll have the full force of the law on top of you - but complain to the law about your tenant stealing the housing allowance that they've been paid to give to you and the law don't want to know. It's a civil matter. Tough luck. So you spend more money to take the tenant to court (they hardly ever turn up for the hearing) and yes, you'll win your case to evict them. The tenant gets a county court judgement and is ordered to pay you back a pitiful amount every week over a ridiculously long period - which they never pay anyway. But never mind; you have your house back even if it is covered in black mould.

For Goodness Sake - Open The Windows And Put Some Heating On!


Information For Tenants And Landlords Regarding Condensation And Mould

How does condensation cause black mould issues?

Homeowners and tenants alike often confuse condensation with damp, wrongly blaming the structure of the building or the landlord. If your property has signs of black mould it's a lifestyle problem that's so easily rectified with some common sense strategies.

Black mould has nothing to do with damp!

Unless there's been a serious leak, a problem with the roof, the guttering or an inadequate damp-proof course, the moisture won't be coming in from the outside - it's being produced inside with daily living and you're not allowing it to escape if you fail to provide adequate ventilation. Black mould hates damp - especially damp that has come through the bricks from the outside which is too salty for its taste!

Condensation and black mould are lifestyle issues

A great deal of moisture is produced when drying washing indoors, cooking and showering - even breathing causes condensation and this includes pets too! All this moisture doesn't just disappear - it has to go somewhere so if you never open your windows it'll stick around and cause problems with mould growth.

Condensation is caused by warm, moist air settling on cold surfaces such as mirrors, walls, tiling and glass. When warm air cools, it can't retain moisture and thus condenses into water droplets.

Modern features such as double glazing and loft insulation are important to keep your home warm but they also introduce problems associated with poor air circulation. Where there's inadequate ventilation, condensation easily takes hold. With the relatively high cost of heating, nobody wants to keep their windows open for very long when it’s cold outside so condensation problems have to be reduced as much as possible.

A seasonal problem too

Condensation is a seasonal problem occurring over the six coldest months of the year (October to April in the UK). During summer, the problem goes away but in winter, ventilation of your property is usually low when windows and doors are tightly closed and often draught proofed. This causes water vapour to accumulate and condensation soon follows.

You'll begin to notice the following:

Water droplets can appear on cold surfaces; if moisture droplets have formed on windows and doors they should be wiped off as soon as possible. Wallpaper may be damp to the touch and even begin to peel. Black mould will appear in places such as corners of rooms. behind furniture and in corners where floors and ceilings meet. This is because there's little movement of air in these areas. Condensation streaming down double-glazed windows first thing in the morning and puddles on windowsills are also signs that there's is a problem.

Often these issues happen in rooms nowhere near the source of the moisture and this causes confusion. The steam from your kitchen kettle finds its way into your unheated bedroom because the walls there will be cooler and you may even find mould growing on clothes as a consequence. Natural fibres like suede, leather and wool can be destroyed by this mould if the problem gets out of hand.

Sources of moisture in the home

The main sources of water vapour in the home occur in the kitchen and the bathroom.To prevent this from causing problems elsewhere it's essential to keep interior doors closed when cooking and showering or using any hot water in the kitchen and bathroom, ironing too will cause build up of steam so always keep the door closed whenever possible. This helps contain the moist air in that room. Open windows if there's no extractor present. Draw cold water first before you add hot and avoid drying clothes on radiators. Use a vented or self-condensing tumble dryer if you can't dry washing outside or use a launderette.

Ventilation is the key

Ventilate your home adequately - just a few minutes a day is sufficient. You can do this in winter as long as the air outside isn't damp.Never block ventilation grills or air bricks with rags.They're there for a reason - to ventilate your property. Under no circumstances should air bricks be covered over - either from the outside or the inside. Sometimes such grills are necessary for gas safety where there's a gas appliance in the room so blocking these could give you carbon monoxide poisoning. Any gas appliance also depletes oxygen from the air so if vents are blocked by you covering them, your life could be in real danger.

Where furniture (such as cupboards, wardrobes, chests of drawers etc) are up against a wall, try to keep a small distance between the back of the item of furniture and the wall (particularly if the wall is an exterior one). Fixing some form of ventilation grill in cupboards, walk in wardrobes, drawers etc is a good idea to keep fresh air circulating. Any cupboard or drawer that's not opened frequently will acquire a stale odour and thus needs ventilation to prevent mould growth on stored items.

Whilst it is a good idea to draught-proof your home, it's important to remember not to block airways that will prevent air circulation. Don't draught-proof rooms where problems with condensation or mould already exist such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Adequate heating is needed

Cold air causes problems associated with condensation so in winter you must keep your home warm - with background heating on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Keeping the air at an even temperature will lessen the problems associated with condensation. It's more cost effective to set the heating to low all the time because when you keep turning it on and off, your boiler must work harder to heat the radiators from cold. If the heating's permanently on low it will keep the temperature stable and reduce the likelihood of condensation.


At first appearance of mould, spray some mould and mildew cleaner onto the affected area immediately. This costs next to nothing and can be bought from virtually anywhere. Mould needs moisture to grow and you're giving it the ideal conditions if you never ventilate. Mould only grows where moisture is present. Remove the moisture effectively and the mould has nothing to feed on.


Never paint over black mould – it always returns with a vengeance! Affected areas must be thoroughly cleaned to banish all visible signs of mould and then treated with a specialist mould inhibitor before redecorating with a mould inhibiting paint.

How To Deal With Black Mould And How To Prevent It

How To Differentiate Between A Leak And Condensation

After Reading This Article, How Do You Think Problems With Black Mould Arise?

What Causes Black Mould?

See results

© 2017 Stella Kaye


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    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      17 months ago from Norfolk, England

      Mould and damp are terrible. It can be such a job getting rid of it sometimes.


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