Mould in just purchased house - any legal recourse?

It may well be that the screw on filter ( if there is one) on the end of the tap is clogged, can often happens if the water is acidic with copper pipe.

Ours is a bathroom with wooden floor with the aforementioned low pressure hot water tap, and below it is the kitchen which has a damp patch on one wall. So it could well be a leaky pipe upstairs. I will investigate further…

I’ve replaced it Mark…it disintegrated…

My house is considerably older than the United States of America, I bought it knowing full well that it wouldn’t be like a new build and not expecting it to be.
The various checks etc that exist are for major things which have an impact on the structural integrity of the building and /or health; that aside, people are expected to be grown-up, use their eyes and common sense and realise that an old building may be imperfect by modern standards, then decide whether to buy or not in consequence.


I think the “legal recourse” bit was a gut reaction to an unexpected find in the newly purchased house. I can sympathise… different country, different culture, different language…in her shoes, I would probably be worrying that I had missed something important in the legal jargon at the Notaire’s office :fearful:

By now the Original Poster will have found… either… the whole house is a disaster…:disappointed: or… the damp is only a small matter…:relaxed:

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Wow! How to get a party started with you guys, let’s talk MOULD! :smiley: I thought I thanked you for your input Dominique but I’m having trouble keeping up with all the great comments now!:grinning:

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Hi again Anna - just to be clear I’m Canadian and we despise confrontation. :slight_smile: We’re known to say sorry to the air for waking through it. No - it’s what Stella’s last comment was - I haven’t even been here a week and simply overreacted to a very common problem round these parts and a situation I was unfamiliar with. I also shouldn’t have posted comment in the ‘property’ section and not the ‘legal’ section but I’m glad I did 'cos I’ve been learning so much from all of you guys!! And I feel I’ve got all kinds of expertise and experience an email away! It’s great! And also I’m here to ‘do as the Romans’ - I want the European lifestyle and am looking forward to more ‘escape to the country adventures’ as - er - more importantly what the heck is that commotion in the attic at night??? :astonished:

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YES!!! Couldn’t have said it better myself, for Pierre’s sake, I haven’t even been here a week! :thinking: so I’m definitely completely clueless still! Heck I’m still jet lagged never mind anything else! :unamused: No house is perfect, anywhere. In fact in the words of Canada’s great poet Laureate Leonard Cohen: “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” There is pure beauty in imperfection. I get it. I love it. I am it. I adore my darling little French house. I will work on it a little bit at a time/petit peu a petit peu…sort of how I work on myself: enjoying the charm and character of both as I go along. :wink: Thx Stella. :hugs:

And thanks to all for your input, views, suggestions and observations. I’ve learned a lot from all of you!

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Could be all sorts of things - I have 2 different types of dormouse, bats and owls in my attics, they don’t do any harm and I’d rather have them than poison them. I wasn’t too sure about how owls can coexist with dormice but they seem to manage…:wink:

Hi Lison, I forgot to say use the Dettol undiluted on cheap sponges
because it destroy them.
To dry the wall, fan is very good advice (and if cold electric heater)
Dehumidifier is very bad advice bad for health, lots of work,
expensive. I used to work in museums and before we used them we would
have to have 4 inches of water in the stores for 2 weeks. It did happen.
Have a good time.

All the above advice about dealing with mould seems more than sensible and I can add nothing better.

As to legal recourse, however, if I tell you that my friend bought a house whose roof (as it turned out) needed completely redoing immediately, and whose swimming pool (as it turned out) was a health hazard, both clearly "vices cachés’, and that she failed to get any compensation even with her high-flying lawyer husband (now ex-husband, as it turned out, but I digress!), I very much doubt you’d get anywhere with a bit of black mould under wallpaper.

I’m not being defeatist, but sometimes you do have to accept you’re wasting your time and energy, especially as a foreigner trying to take on the system. Good luck, and don’t let it spoil your dream home!

Hi Veronica…

trying to take on the system, as a foreigner… is not easy unless there is an excellent understanding of the language… so much can be lost not only in the translation, but in the innuendos…so often what is not said is more important than what was said… if you get my drift… :sunglasses:

I just reread my post and can’t see that I did anything other than offer a viable option. Which part of the content could define me as grumpy or old escapes me completely. Surely suggesting that someone chills out and gets on with enjoying life is neither.

David I hope you’re not under the impression that it was me who called you a grumpy old man! Someone else said that, I quoted it and said that I saw you as a sound chap who knows which way is up :grinning:
Not that I have anything against grumpy old men, being a grumpy old woman myself.

  1. I recommend that you remove the wall paper, a steamer is ideal as it partly kills the mold spores and after cleanining off all the wal paper paste thoroughly steam again before washing the wall down with diluted bleach and finally take advantage of the warmth and have the windows open as much as possible. Consider “re plastrering” the section of wall
  2. I found the dehumidifier expensive to run. There are fans with an ionizer and directing negative ions at the worst affected area will help kill the spores. Leave as long as possible
  3. You can buy anti-mold additives (eBay “anti mold additive” not very expensive ) and I presume could be added to wallpaper paste as well as paint
  4. Establish the cause of the dampness and rectify. In some geographic areas there is a dominant “wet” direction indicated by the length of the roof overhang, In my case I have dealt with the roof and significantly improved the drainage next to the wall. Rising damp is not generally an issue but a humidity meter will tell you if the wall is damper at the top (roof leak?) or at the bottom.

My mason took many photographs when he constructed the drainage. I shall make these available to any prospective purchaser in years to come. As other subscribers have identified the purchaser needs clear evidence that the vendor was aware of the extenct of the problem. I was fortunate in one house viewed. It had rained the night before and there were puddles on the ground floor. On the first floor: there were buckets strategically placed, and obvious signs of water staining on the wooden floor. All of this was photographed. The leaking roof was one justification for negotiating a lower price. The immobilier (it was the second visit) did not mention the leaking roof on the first visit. There is a useful guide of points (that may detract from “enjoyment” of the bien ) that prospective property purchasers should research before making an offer (if at all). In general it is “caveat emptor”! and

Many thanks John. Much practical ‘how to’ advice here. Now that we’re over the initial response things are already better with applying some heat from a mobile radiator and open windows with fresh air circulating. We’ve identified exactly what you said - a corner where moisture may be penetrating from the outside which we must look at before any long term remediation begins internally. All things considered we’re not doing too badly and are very pleased in fact a little awed by how we’ve found ourselves in such a beautiful neck of the woods despite some fairly (hopefully) generally minor issues that with some helpful input from you guys we can get on with fixing and then get on with enjoying ‘la belle vie’ here in France. Merci encore.

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It’s true that very few properties are surveyed in the English sense prior ot purpose. The ten-year builders insurance for new builds is as much as you get. It seems strange to me that whilst you have by law to have checks for termites, asbestos and the like, a great crack down the wall showing eg. subsidence is up to you to spot.

as far as your black mould is concerned I wouldn’t be too concerned. I totally restored an 18th century farmhouse in Normandy (it don’t gte wetter than that, folks) and the house is completely dry with lime plaster downstairs and underfloor heating and rads upstairs, BUT when I went to move a wardrobe in my bedroom upstairs, the newish wallpaper (4 years ago) had mould. It was/is an outside wall, but since no other spots were affected, I think it is simply the effect of having no air circulating against a cold outside wall. It is possible that as your problme is in a bedroom, the same thing has occured and only became apparent when the provious furniture was moved.

Hi We had this problem a few years ago, arrived at house to find huge mushroom covering ceiling, up the stairs, almost the whole of ground floor- dry rot!! Legally we could have taken previous owner to court for not telling us about the pre existing problem but he still lives in the village, was assistant Mayor. We were warned it would cost thousands to go through the French legal system to prove our case against him, we would need an interpreter, it would take years, so we gave up, paid to have the problem rectified, insurers would not pay out. We bought a very old house and have had to pay the price! Warning to all prospective buyers, get a survey done please. Good luck x

Hi Denise. Yikes! How was that even possible?? :fearful: You must’ve bought the house sight unseen?? My situation was quite different as the house is completely habitable as it was just some mould behind one panel of wallpaper and we now see the possible cause as a bit of unfinished business in the valley part of the roof outside. A fairly easy remedy. Plus more ventilation so we’re to put holes ‘everywhere’ with chicken wire stuffed in so the house can ‘breathe.’ :kissing_smiling_eyes: I must say you are a very brave soul for not walking away from that nightmare (the assistant mayor sold it to you!?!?) I do believe in buyer beware but I also believe in karma. You do someone a bad turn like that and it’s just got to eventually bite you in the butt - it’s got to! (We can only hope!) On the other hand, maybe sometimes people are desperate for money and they’re willing to do what it takes, who really knows what someone’s situation is? In the end, I admire you for taking the high road - and choosing to not let what could’ve been a dealbreaker for most put you off from living that little bit of ‘la belle vie’ which in spite of everything is a precious and beautiful thing you can’t really put a price on but still available to those willing to pursue it - and that special happiness is priceless! Good for you!! :grinning:


Dry Rot… did the Seller camouflage it or what… not easy to hide mushrooms…

Personally, I would recommend that a Purchaser views the property on ( close to) Final Signature Day …the Notaire always asks if you have seen what you are buying…and that is the moment to mention what you have found (if anything)

but you can still report findings of important defects to the Notaire… asap after Purchase … if they were not apparent at the time of Signing… the Notaire can then decide/suggest what is best to do…