How to keep your home property free from damp and mould

News at Howland Jones | 01/02/2023

Whether you’re a homeowner, a tenant or a landlord, damp and mould can be a scourge on your property.

Not only does it look unsightly and cause damage to the fabric of any building, it can also be extremely dangerous for anyone living there.

This was illustrated recently by the case of two-year-old Awaab Ishak who died following prolonged exposure to damp and mould in his home.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove has joined forces with Health Secretary Steve Barclay to update current guidance for social homes to include damp and mould as well as review health and safety protocols.

Worst cases

But these problems are not limited to social housing, they affect the private rented sector and homeowners, too – especially during the colder months.

There are measures that every householder can take to stop damp and mould spreading through your property, but if you’re a landlord not living on the premises, you must ensure your tenant is aware of what tenants can do to prevent damp and mould from occurring and what actions to take if it should begin to appear.

There are a number of causes of damp and mould and there is often a combination of these in the worst cases.

The causes include:

  1. Poor ventilation;
  2. Inadequate or absence of heating;
  3. Condensation;
  4. High levels of water vapour/steam;
  5. Rising damp which spreads from the ground up;
  6. Water entering the property through cracks, holes or leaking pipes.

Condensation occurs when warm air hits a cold surface. It can form anywhere in a property but is most common in kitchens, bathrooms or in unheated rooms. Every time someone takes a shower or boils the kettle for a cuppa, steam forms and drifts around the living space. When it hits a cold surface the steam cools and turns back into a liquid – water.

It is this water that encourages the growth of black mould. In order to stop it, the amount of moisture in the air at the property needs to be reduced and the background surface temperature may need to be increased.

In order to achieve this there may have to be improvements or repairs to the heating system but it will also improve the situation if those living at the property take some simple measures:

  1. Avoid using bottled gas heaters;
  2. Dry washing outdoors;
  3. If you must use a tumble dryer, make sure it is vented outside;
  4. Cook with lids on saucepans;
  5. Open windows for 15 minutes after taking a shower or cooking;
  6. Closing kitchen/bathroom doors after use will stop condensation from spreading;
  7. Wipe down doors and windows to remove any moisture;
  8. Keep furniture away from outside walls;
  9. Avoid having too many house plants.

Home interiors should be heated to a minimum of 18 degrees to heat surfaces sufficiently and, weather allowing, doors and windows should be opened as often as possible to allow dry air to circulate inside the building.

However, even if householders adopt these measures in their entirety, it is possible that problems of damp and mould can persist. If that is the case, expert help should be sought immediately and tenants should let landlords know immediately they spot the tell-tale signs. And landlords need to take action equally promptly because the damage can spread extremely quickly if it goes untreated.

At Howland Jones, we will do all we can to help you get the most from your rental properties. Our offices are based in the village of Measham in the East Midlands, and we operate within a 20-mile radius of our base, giving us extensive knowledge of the local area.

You can find out all about us by getting in contact here.