Landlords: Managing damp problems with tenants

It is important to deal with damp issues as soon as you can as, not only can they lead to costly repairs, they can be unpleasant to live with and, in


Condensation and damp are common problems for households. In the UK, 1 in 5 homes has a damp problem. It is important to deal with damp issues as soon as you can, as not only can they lead to costly repairs, they can be unpleasant to live with and, in some cases damaging to the health of your tenants. If you fail to meet your responsibilities as a landlord to deal with damp, tenants can, as a last resort, take you to court. There has been an increase in such cases in recent years.

The majority of damp problems that affect landlords are from condensation and high relative humidity levels. Surprisingly, just one person living by themselves can produce up to 9 pints of moisture PER DAY. Yes, opening windows will help - providing they are all open at the same time. This poses arguments for security and also heat loss with tenants who are paying the heating bills. Providing a vented tumble dryer will help reduce the moisture created from washing. Washing is the major contributor to condensation so a separate room for this will help, if you have the space. Even hanging washing in the bathroom if it can’t be put outside will also help. You can keep the window open and the internal door closed.

Remember, it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure the property is adequately heated and well-ventilated. Rooms without central heating will always be prone to condensation and black mould problems. You can try improving insulation in some areas too. Black mould loves growing in cold places. It may be possible to improve loft insulation of insulation in cold spots such as bay windows. Be warned though, you can sometimes create a problem in another area as the moisture levels in the air haven’t reduced.

As a landlord, some of your property stock may suffer more. Ground floor flats and top floor flats with no roof insulation are colder and therefore more likely to have condensation damp problems. Large surface areas - such as the gable wall of an end terrace house or patio doors may suffer too. And watch for east and north-facing elevations as these may also be more likely to attract condensation and black mould.

There are more ways to minimise the amount of moisture in the air and you’ll find ten tips that you can share with your tenants on our blog here. It’s not just the number and behaviour of the people in the property that can lead to damp problems, older houses will often suffer with damp after being modernised. Older houses were built with more gaps but over time we see people installing insulation, upgrading windows and blocking vents and bricking up chimneys in a drive for energy-efficiency. There is often no consideration to alternative forms of ventilation.

The first step in dealing with the issue is to know the difference between rising damp and condensation. Condensation, the most common type of damp, appears when moisture that is held in the air comes into contact with cold surfaces. Rising damp is where brick walls act like a sponge and soak up the ground water. If you’d like to know more about the difference between condensation and damp, we’ve written a blog on this topic to help you, here. Both rising damp and condensation damp are unsightly but treatable.

We are experts in all types of damp treatments and we work regularly with landlords and letting agents to provide permanent solutions to damp issues in their properties. Every damp proofing service we provide is guaranteed to last - not just by us, but by an independent insurance company - so you can be sure that you are looking after your tenants’ health and saving future repair costs.

Call us on 0121 666 7706 for a free, no obligation landlord survey.


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