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No fixed penalties for black mould landlords despite new Council powers

Mould on wall

An absence of fixed penalties for black mould landlords has been highlighted by a DUP representative as new council tenancy powers are approved this week.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s (NMDDC) environment committee this week approved maximum fixed penalties of £500.

Landlords could face the fines regarding smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide alarms. Electrical safety regulations have been paused for the reconvened Stormont Assembly to progress that part of the Private Tenancies Act NI.

From April of 2023, councils have been able to fine private landlords £500 if they are found to be exploiting their tenants, on a range of issues including tenancy deposits, receipts, and notice to quit a tenancy.

However, councils will not be able impose a fixed penalty for persistent mould despite it causing breathing issues and chest infections for residents.

Mournes DUP cllr, Henry Reilly said: “In an issue where there is persistent mould in walls of a rented accommodation, is there any fines or anything can be handed out to a landlord?

“Especially if there has been a a lot of complaints about it from the tenant.”

Recent reports of mould in homes across Northern Ireland has seen vulnerable children and adults’ health being put at risk.

The black mould is a microscopic fungus, which can cause people living with it to be more likely to suffer from respiratory illnesses, infections, allergies or asthma.

A council officer responded: “There are no fixed penalty notices for that situation under the housing regulations as they stand.

“If there is an issue with mould or damp in a house, it can be reported through to the environmental health team, and one of the officers who deal with public health in housing can assess the source of the damp and work through those regulations to try to get that resolved with the landlord.

“There are penalties on the regulations and it can go as far as court action if the landlord isn’t remedying the matter.”

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