A common complaint from tenants is that there is mould growing in their property and they believe that this is damp. The usual causes of damp are water ingress from roof leaks, blocked gutters, rising damp or cracks in external walls.
Very often, mould is not caused by damp at all and is instead down to condensation. Poor ventilation causes condensation in a property, resulting in moisture building on walls and around windows. It is therefore a TENANT CAUSED PROBLEM. It occurs by not opening windows, curtains or drying clothes on radiators and airers or leaving the door open when showering and cooking.
Condensation looks like black spots on the walls and is an easy problem to solve by simply opening the windows on a regular basis. A Landlord is not responsible for paying for repairs to condensation affected areas and this is a common deduction from a tenant’s deposit.
We have previously written an article in relation to the Human Habitation Act 2018. This may be beneficial to read also – https://harringtonslettings.co.uk/the-human-habitation-act-2018-a-guide-for-landlords/
There are three main causes of condensation:
1) The level of moisture in the air (e.g. steam/heat emitted from cooking or showering)
2) The temperature of the air in your home (e.g. not ventilating the property correctly)
3) The surface temperature of the windows
Cooking, drying clothes, showering, even breathing – adds to the moisture in the air. By allowing the moisture to build up it can cause condensation. This can increase the risk of respiratory illness and cause black mould to grow from walls, ceilings, furniture and clothing. Most people mistakenly think that the mould is a sign of damp caused by problems at the property itself.
There are three main ways to tackle the problem:
1) Stop moisture building up.
2) Ventilate or air the home.
3) Keep your home warm.
Stop moisture building up:
- a) Wipe down surfaces where moisture settles.
- b) Cover boiling pans when cooking
- c) When cooking, bathing or washing and drying clothes, close kitchen and bathroom doors to prevent steam going into other rooms, even after you have finished
- e) Dry clothes outside where possible.
- f) Make sure that tumble dryers vent to the outside.
- g) Avoid using bottled gas or paraffin heaters as these produce a lot of moisture and could also be a health and safety risk if not used or stored properly.
Ventilate or air the home:
- a) When cooking or washing, open windows or use extractors
- b) When drying clothes inside is necessary do so in a small room with the windows open
- c) Open windows for a while each day or use the trickle/night vent on the window itself.
- d) Do not block air vents or the vents of heating appliances.
Keep your home warm:
- a) Make sure to maintain a certain heating level in the property.
- b) Cold air can often cause major condensation.
- c) Use the heating in the rooms you are living in. If you do not this can create condensation so it is important that you do not turn this off or do not put it on because of cost.
Please refer to the government website if you need more information – https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/sites/brighton-hove.gov.uk/files/Damp%20%20mould%20-%20text%20version_0.pdf