The issue of how to solve damp problems in a rental property is a very common one. In landlord circles it’s often referred to as ‘tenants disease.’ One of the main reasons for damp is condensation forming from washing being dried indoors during the winter months, which is compounded by tenants not opening windows to let the moisture out. This in turn causes black mould to form which can then lead to respiratory problems for the tenants if left unchecked.
Black Mould Problems
Tenants do not understand ( or often care) about the issues they cause for property owners and teaching them can go a long way towards mitigating any damage and costs incurred by it. Ventilation is a key factor. Opening windows after a bath or shower for a few minutes, and installing ceiling fans in the kitchen and bathroom can help tremendously. There are electric fans which can come on automatically when moisture is detected, or ones that come on when the light switch is pulled.
You can also give the tenant a dehumidifier for when they are drying washing indoors to suck the moisture from the atmosphere. As an added bonus, it also helps to dry the washing quicker and saves them putting it on radiators to dry. 🙂 However, they cost about the same as a fridge to run.
North facing properties with lots of exterior uninsulated walls will suffer more in general. Houses in multiple occupation can be more susceptible to condensation damp because humans create moisture just by breathing and sweating etc.
Other products can help to solve damp in rental properties, such as Envirovent, which is endorsed by the national landlords association. These are larger extractor vents that can be placed in loft ceilings, for example, to fully extract the air out via the roof space or directly outside.
Black mould can be wiped off with watered down bleach or sugar soap and then the area treated with an anti-fungal solution before decorating is done.
Leaks And Rising Damp
It’s important to be clear that there are many forms of damp. The cause may also be due to a water leak or rising damp. Leaks on walls or ceilings would be wet or damp to the touch and show patches or discolouration.
Rising damp comes from ground level and is often found in bay windows or where there has not been a damp proof course used. Blocked drains can cause rising damp because the water cannot run away properly hence allowing it to get backed up into the brickwork over time. Leaving mould unchecked allows it to grow and will cause even more damage if left. Get it fixed quickly to minimise the costs.
There are companies that offer leak detection services if you are unsure or need professional help with sourcing the leak.
Getting your rental properties insulated properly via the outside walls will help any potential damp issues, especially if the property is north facing for example. Old unused chimneys can also bring damp into a home.
Once the cause has been established get it fixed quickly, the last thing you want is a tenant suing you or getting the council involved because of health issues caused by damp or mould.There is a very good website which expplains the various forms of damp and it’s cures called Ukdamp.co.uk.
You may find this blog useful to: Why Water Is Your Property Enemy