As winter comes, so does condensation and mould in many rental properties, The root cause in residential property can become a bone of contention between landlords and tenants. In the UK, condensation and mould are a common problem. Rental properties are particularly vulnerable.
The problem can vary in severity from a small patch of mould or discoloured wallpaper behind a cupboard in the corner of a room to serious amounts of mould growth across walls, inside wardrobes and on furnishings, carpets and in basements. Condensation in residential property is caused by warm, moist air generated in areas like kitchens and bathrooms penetrating colder parts of the building. When the air becomes cold, it is unable to hold the extra moisture produced by everyday activities, so some of this moisture appears as small droplets of water – most noticeable on windows or on places where there is little movement of air. If not properly dealt with, this extra ‘dampness’ can lead to mould growth on walls, furniture, window frames and even on clothes. Very often the main cause of mould growth is the lifestyle of the occupants – the Tenants. The average person will produce condensation through cooking, washing, internal drying, etc. Landlords and agents need to be aware of the potential problems which excessive condensation and mould growth can cause and should take steps to minimise the risks. Many properties, including new builds, will suffer from condensation during the winter months. So it is vital that landlords keep the property properly maintained and advise tenants on how they can reduce the levels of condensation. This being said it is ultimately the responsibility of the tenant to ensure the property is well aired to avoid condensation occurring and causing damage.
ALL TENANTS SHOULD
Keep the property adequately heated and ventilated.
Dry all windows, windowsills, and any other surfaces that have become… wet. Ensure the cloth is rung out thoroughly , do not dry on the radiator!
Try to keep the interior temperature of the property at a reasonably constant level.
Always hang washing outside. If this is not possible, hang it in the bathroom with the door closed and window slightly open for ventilation.
Do not dry washing on radiators as this will add to moisture already in the air.
Ensure that all extractor fans are working and ensure that Tenants use them.
If a Tenant uses a tumble dryer, they should ensure it is well ventilated to the outside, or that it is the new condensing type.
Tenants should ventilate the kitchen when in use, either by opening a window slightly or using the extractor fan.
Both kitchens and bathrooms should be ventilated for at least twenty minutes after use.
If your property is prone to condensation then providing a Tenant with a de-humidifier for daily use can be very beneficial. These come in all shapes and sizes, cost very little to run and draw out the excess moisture from the air, helping to keep the condensation under control.