Mould, damp and condensation issues are causing a stir among social housing tenants, even serving members of the armed forces and their families are now dissatisfied with the conditions they are having to put up with.
You may recall hearing about the devastating news of Awaab Ishak who died shortly after his second birthday on 21 December 2020. The young boy died as a result of a severe respiratory condition caused due to prolonged exposure to mould in his home environment. The conditions he was exposed to were admittedly some of the worst we had ever seen.
The extent of the mould and dampness within the property caused the young boy to suffer a respiratory illness, which can be quite common in properties that have extensive damp and mould. Homes suffering from damp and mould present some unpleasant conditions to live in, even our serving military personnel and their families have raised concerns about the conditions they are having to put up with.
Many tenants, are finding it a struggle to get someone out to assess the issues or provide reasons as to why the damp and mould have become so bad. There are numerous reasons why damp and mould can become so bad that it becomes unbearable. Issues relating to mould & damp is becoming a serious concern without a doubt, it may be a lack of maintenance, or simply due to the tenant’s lack of understanding.
Some of the causes of damp, mould and condensation within properties include,
- Building deterioration such as deteriorated brickwork, roof tiles, flashing or mortar
- General building disrepair, such as guttering and downspouts
- Lifestyle habits, such as drying clothes without providing ventilation
- Cooking without adequate ventilation
- Faulty extraction units
- Subsidence, cracks and moisture ingress
- Leaks from roofs, pipes
- Faulty or inadequate heating systems
Common Questions Asked by Tenants
Tenants do have an obligation to maintain the property to avoid damp and mould issues arising in the first place. This may include drying clothes in tumble dryers, on clothes rails, or radiators around the property without suitable ventilation. You are expected to ventilate and heat your home properly so that damp doesn’t become a problem caused by negligence. However, your landlord should not make unreasonable demands. For example, asking you to dry your clothes outside when you don’t have access to outdoor space.
Everyday activities like cooking, showering, bathing and drying clothes can all create moisture in your home which may lead to condensation, damp and mould issues.
How can I minimise the possibility of causing damp and mould
- Keep pans covered when cooking by using lids
- Use extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms to extract moisture
- Close internal doors when you cook, bath or shower to prevent moisture becoming trapped in other rooms
- Leave a gap between furniture and external walls to allow air to circulate freely around the room
- Dry clothes outdoors or use a vented tumble dryer and avoid drying clothes in an unvented room
- Open bedroom windows for 5-10 minutes when you get up.
What causes condensation?
Condensation forms when excess moisture in the air, from wet clothes, hair, cooking or showering comes into contact with a cold surface. Inadequate ventilation can be one of the primary reasons for condensation in rented properties. Condensation, which causes mould and damp, can be due to faulty heating systems, ventilation or insulation, which is the responsibility of the landlord.
What is Rising Damp?
Rising damp is a myth, in Stephen Bonifaces article, he explains the phrase was coined by the chemical companies. It is highly likely that if a company tells you that you have rising damp, then they simply want to sell you unnecessary chemicals. It is always advised to seek expert professional help from an independent damp surveyor.
What is penetrating damp or moisture ingress?
Penetrating damp or damp resulting from moisture ingress is caused by water coming through external walls or the roof. It can also happen when there is an internal leak or plumbing problem. Because penetrating damp is caused by repair issues, it is your landlord’s responsibility to get it resolved.