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Mould problems and solutions

Mould ... just the word makes me want to frown! As a letting agent, we deal with a whole rang...

Mould 

... just the word makes me want to frown! 

As a letting agent, we deal with a whole range of mildew/mould issues. From the nightmare of Rising Damp, to slight blackening of bath sealant. It is a bone of contention for tenants and landlords alike. 

The main causes of mould in property are:

 

• Water leaks from windows, roof, downspouts,

guttering, internal plumbing
 and flooding. (Property issue, Landlord responsibility to repair/maintain). Most often these look like the drip marks they are, water will always travel to the easiest route - then the weakest. 

 

 

Penetrating damp through walls. (Property issue, Landlord responsibility to

 repair/maintain) Most often looks like a dark stain in an odd area of walls, or, if left, looks like bubbled up plaster.

 

Rising damp – usually caused by non-existent or defective damp proof
courses. (Property issue, Landlord responsibility to repair/maintain) Most often found under windows, in 'tidal line' style markings above skirting boards, 

 

 

• Wet or damp basements/cellars (Property issue, Landlord responsibility to repair/maintain) Most often the easiest to understand - the rest of the property is fine - basement is wet.

• Condensation from high relative humidity in air (Lifestyle issue, Tenant responsibility to maintain/change habits) Most often found behind wardrobes or large furniture items - where stagnant air cannot circulate.

 

 

Too much water vapour or steam being generated through cooking, washing, bathing, showering and clothes drying which is allowed to travel throughout the house. (Lifestyle issue, Tenant responsibility to maintain/change habits) Most often seen on ceilings over shower/bath, or on window sills and frames.

 

Inadequate ventilation (Lifestyle issue, Tenant responsibility to maintain/change habits) Most often found as detailed above in Bathrooms and Kitchens but also in far corners of bedrooms (furthest away from heating sources).

Inadequate heating (Lifestyle issue, Tenant responsibility to maintain/change habits)

Inadequate cleaning and drying after major water leaks and bursts or floods. (Property issue, Landlord responsibility to repair/maintain) Most likely to look like the original issue has returned - but most likely just 'reappearing' through the patch-up job. 

In the last ten years we have seen reports of mould issues increase ten fold but not in the Property Issue category - in the Tenant Lifestyle category. From our experience, this has shown a dramatic increase since Landlords have been expected to keep their rental property to a good lettable standard. Why? I hear you cry, Why would a landlord updating their property be a cause for mould? Well imagine the average built house, never having experienced condensation before, because there were hundreds of tiny areas where air could circulate freely. Then imagine a good Landlord coming along and making updates to the property - Double Glazing for one; Do the new windows have trickle vents? Are the tenants really going to use the trickle vents? All updates to a property tend to include negatives that tenants do not want to use. An air vent gets a little draughty in November, the average tenant will think that this is costing them money in heating - so closes the air vent. Extractor fans in the bathroom - might be a little noisy in the middle of the night - so an average tenant might turn them off. Its raining for three days in a row - so a tenant might think drying their socks on the radiator is a perfectly sound decision. 

For a homeowner - we are aware of the perils of these small decisions which could affect the property so dramatically. We know the absolute luxury of having a piping hot shower with the window closed is delightful - we also make the decision to open the window to the cold air is the better idea in the long run.  When a homeowner sees condensation on window panes - they wipe it off and put the window on the latch. It is these small acts that mean most homeowners do not experience the little black spots on walls/ceilings.

When we meet a tenant at their new property, we go through a whole host of property tips to make for an easier tenancy. One of these is a 'Condensation Leaflet' an absolute must.

To discuss any issues raised in this article, please feel free to email ipswich@belvoir.co.uk or call Lee/Emma on 01473 212323

 

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