Black mould in one bed ground floor flat

by Readers Question

7 months ago

Black mould in one bed ground floor flat

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Black mould in one bed ground floor flat

I’m new to being a landlord and have had tenants in my flat for the first time since end of September. It’s been fairly problematic since with drain blockages, my boiler needs replacing, all of that is manageable however my flat has been prone to rising damp.

I had professional damp proofing done 3 years ago in the bedroom which fixed the rising damp issues however, I have been in to the property this morning and the tenants have shown 3 sections of black mould which has appeared since they have moved in.

I never had this issue when I lived there. The black mould is clear to see on the white painted walls and all in the bottom corners of any external walls in the bathroom, bedroom and living room. I have provided a dehumidifier, the double glazing is new and they have trickle vents, but don’t understand why black mould is forming.

There is a smell of damp in the flat now. I am aware that washing is being dried inside over chairs and the radiators, the radiators in the living room and bathroom were turned off (they are trying to manage costs) so I don’t know if this is adding to the issues.

Any advice and help would be appreciated and an understanding of whether I am now accountable to fix an issue which I feel the tenants have created.

Thank you

Farzana



Comments

Neil Patterson

7 months ago

Hi Farzana,

This sounds like a classic issue of drying wet clothes inside, with closed windows and low or no heat. The tenants are always going to get damp issues and sounds like you have done everything possible.

The Deposit Protection Service (DPS) published their eight top tips for avoiding damp and mould in properties:

Make sure vents remain uncovered and extractor fans are working
Keep windows open when you can to allow good ventilation
Put lids on pans to stop steam escaping
Don’t leave your kettle boiling continuously
Dry clothes outside when possible
Keep the household heating on a low level for longer periods
Wipe windows and windowsills with a dry cloth to remove sitting moisture
Leave internal doors open so air can circulate around the property

Robert Mellors

7 months ago

Also ensure that you provide extractor fans for both the kitchen and bathroom. The bathroom one is usually linked to the light switch, and in this case it should have an over-run so that it continues for a few minutes after the light is switched off. Alternatively, you could install humidistat extractors, which will come on when the humidity levels are over the trigger point.

When visiting the flat, always take photos of both the mould, AND crucially, also any potential causes of excessive damp, e.g. clothes on radiators, closed trickle vents, extractors switched off at the isolator switch, blocked air vents, tumble driers, etc.

ROSEMARY BOSWORTH

7 months ago

We had a problem with a three bed house and used a company called Envirovent who installed a unit in the loft to basically put fresh air into our property we have never looked back. Similar properties in the are all suffer with mould. The unit cost £800 circa six years ago but has paid for itself. I have recently seen an ad on the TV for this Co.

Bill O'Dell

7 months ago

If there is room in the flat for a condensing tumble dryer, buy one for the tenant and insist they use it to dry their clothes. This will stop the air drying inside and capture the water. Envirovent fans with humidistats in kitchen and bathroom will help a lot too. Whilst the tenant is creating the humidity with their behaviour you could also be held responsible as the flat as it stands can't cope with their lifestyle, so best to do what you can to eliminate the problem.
Finally if this doesn't work, you may need to check to see if the damp proofing is at fault and potentially make a claim, so a good idea to check that guarantee.
Good luck!

Douglas Barley

7 months ago

Hi Farzana
As said above almost 100% certain its condensation caused by drying wet cloths. I have had this myself on a few occasions and the black mold has disappeared at the change of tenancy although the outgoing tenants have never accepted its them causing the problem. You mention corners being worst and this is also a classic position for condensation to form. You can only ask the tenants to stop drying the wet cloths in the flat, which they may or may not do. If you do provide a dehumidifier (depending on the size) don't forget to tell your tenants to turn off at night as it is not bothered were it draws the moisture from and can be dangerous to leave on for example in a bedroom.
Best regards
Doug.

Jane Davis

7 months ago

Hi Farzana I agree with the previous helpful replies. I have a 'dopey' tenant who just doesn't want to open windows or put the automatic fan on as its going to cost him money despite telling him that he could loose his deposit! Envirovent vent has been ordered £360 fitted to beat the problem. Never had problems before so clearly tenant issue . You have to weigh up cost of new vent that's works automatic ally than wear and tear on you !

Paul Green

7 months ago

Maybe Provide a washer dryer (washing machine) or stand alone tumble dryer. Also I bought a large compressor dehumidifier and hydro meter to measure the rooms humidity. To run for a week to completely dry the 1 bed flat out. I looked into Passive ventilation systems, however never needed it after the dehumidifier was used to dry the flat out and used regularly. I also had the gutters repaired as one was leaking down and outside wall on a ground floor flat. I obtained 3 damp proof surveyors . And had the bedroom wall plaster hacked off, The wall chemically injected & replastered, waited eight weeks to dry & re painted & refitted skirting. That was in the bedroom. I also done a internal wall in the hall. Spent about £1600. But I’m happy as it’s not returned and my tenants are over the moon and have just signed a new AST to stay their for there third year. Oh! And they leave the central heating on and set the thermostat Between 8c -10c (degrees) this ensures the flat never gets to cold especially the walls. I don’t contribute but if my tenants could not afford to leave the heating on such a low setting, which usually only comes on of a night and maybe when there at work all day on an exceptionally cold day , I would consider a small rebate, during the winter months, I think if it keeps the mould and damp away it’s worth it. Good luck.

Chris Daniel

7 months ago

If your going to buy ( and have room for ) a Tumble \dryer, you need to consider the Heat Pump type as they're quite economical to run. Forget other driers - they're too expensive, and certainly wouldn't be used by tenants.
What you've done with a Dehumidifier, is spot on, and its what I've used, effectively.

Yvonne Francis

7 months ago

I'm afraid tenants who cannot provide enough heat are a real problem especially when they have to dry washing in their flat. A constant low heat and ventilation is the ideal and a tumble drier. However have you considered how well insulated is your flat especially outside walls. One of our student houses has been helped by internal insulation as it is an end of terrace. I also had an end room which had outside walls and after putting in double glazing the walls became dripping! I insulated internally all the outside walls and had no problems after that.

rita chawla

7 months ago

Ive had the same problem with a small flat we have. Tenants wouldn't use the tumble drier or dehumidier given, or open the windows. They would keep all windows and air vents closed to save energy bills (even thought its a new built flat with good insulation). I even offered them money to leave the dehumidier on for a few hours, but returned to find it switched off!
The only thing that did work was a strong extractor fan in the bathroom that switches on automatically when the bathroom light is turned on, and has auto run of at least 5 minutes. That way the tenants couldnt avoid switching it on. Now the bathroom is the only place in the flat that is mould free.
I'm thinking if I should /can do this for the kitchen and bedroom as well as they are getting mould because of condensation as well.
I would strongly recommended this kind of extractor fan than spending on anything that the tenant might not even use.

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