Damp and mould – why blame landlords?

Damp and mould – why blame landlords?

11:24 AM, 31st March 2023, About A year ago 16

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Hi all, Is it only me getting a bit sick of getting the blame for damp and mould in Victorian terraced properties, especially the solid stone walled type? Cold walls = condensation = eventually mould.

When I inspect adjacent windows, the seals clearly show mould too, so a lack of ventilation.

I think we should adopt the German model where it is in the rental agreement that all windows should be opened for 5 mins every morning and evening, not that it will happen.

I also see or hear nearly every week, including the BBC, tenants complaining about their landlords not dealing with damp.

My plan is to issue a general flyer to all my tenants on what to do and explain what bleach is!

Heating off at this time of year hasn’t helped either.

What do you guys do to deal with this problem?


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Judith Wordsworth

12:46 PM, 31st March 2023, About A year ago

Victorian properties were never built to have double glazing nor to become hermetically sealed units.

Most people (stupidly) have plastered over high level air bricks, painted and not wallpapered walls,and stopped up every draft they can find and blocked chimneys and never open windows in the autumn/winter/early spring.

Tumble driers are not vented out or are not condensing so where do people think the moisture goes.

People don’t wipe the condensation off their windows every morning and eventually it will dribble down and puddle on the window sills, mostly in the corners before running down the walls. I have posted on here before how my tenant from hell said it was not her job to dry the windows and if I wanted the condensation removed then I should send someone round every day!

I put EcoStat humidity controlled extractors in bathrooms (even if having an opening window) and kitchens, but tenants often turn them off. I insist on a condensing washer/dryer but they still dry clothes on radiators.

Every redecorate I use a mould sterilising solution on walls, ceilings and paintwork, then 1 coat of anti fungicide solution before painting with either anti fungal emulsion or add the correct number of anti fungal additive solution bottles in the paint (emulsion/satinwood/gloss). I even add anti fungal additive to filler, tile grout, and plaster!

Freestanding supplied furniture eg wardrobes I screw a small 2” block on the back so cannot be pushed fully back to the wall or tenant supplying their own tell them to make sure air can circulate behind. If built in wardrobes I thermal wallpaper the insides before painting.

I give tenants, in their documents pack, a detailed written doc about condensation and how to avoid excessive condensation (a human breathes out 1 pint of water every night never mind cooking, bathing, washing etc etc) and how to deal with IMMEDIATELY any signs of mould. (The first place it usually appears is on the black rubber gaskets around double glazing or lower corners of painted window frames.)

Unless a fault with the actual building, mould is caused by inhabitants lifestyle /lack of adequately heating & ventilating and should not be blamed on landlords.

Apology for the essay lol

Martyn Surridge

13:27 PM, 31st March 2023, About A year ago

I usualy start with this advice for new tenants.
• To reduce moisture levels when cooking, cover boiling pans and don’t leave kettles boiling
• Dry washing outside or use the bathroom with the window open or extractor fan running, and the door shut
• Don’t dry washing on radiators. If you have no option make sure room is well ventilated.
• If you use a tumble dryer, make sure it’s ventilated to the outside air
• Do not use portable gas or paraffin heaters
• Always keep the house warm and ventilated. Keep trickle vents permanently open.
• Keep the doors shut during, and for at least 30 minutes after using the bathroom or kitchen.
• Regularly check spots where air circulation is poor, for example, behind furniture and inside cupboards.

Ross Tulloch

13:31 PM, 31st March 2023, About A year ago

I have a number of concrete panel built ex council properties. It is almost entirely down in these to heating and ventilation. I watch the key bad rooms carefully and in one I have repainted after cleaning three times in about 24 months, with a very happy tenant, who I have given a dehumidifier which helps a lot.


16:09 PM, 31st March 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 31/03/2023 - 12:46


23:25 PM, 31st March 2023, About A year ago

I have 4 victorian terraced houses and have no problems.
I have installed positive injection ventilation at the top of the stairs with the isolator in the attic and trickle vents with the flap removed in the uPVC windows.
There needs to be a vent or small gap under doors.
The ventilation is forced but very gentle and very effective.


6:56 AM, 1st April 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 31/03/2023 - 12:46
The only way to prevent mould in an old building is to have decent, rational tenants. Good luck!

Judith Wordsworth

8:03 AM, 1st April 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by SCP at 31/03/2023 - 16:09
Thank you

David Owen

13:42 PM, 1st April 2023, About A year ago

We now paint all our properties with lime based paints. Naturally anti fungal and anti microbial. You need the correct primer and it's more expensive but looks much better and a lot healthier. When many of these properties were built they would have used these painting systems.

Tim Rogers

17:03 PM, 1st April 2023, About A year ago

I use passyfier vents, normally the 100mm round rather than the larger rectangle ones.

They have irradiated condensation and mould completely in bedrooms and living areas. Add humidity sensor fans in kitchen and bathroom and the combination seems able to deal with things fine.

Martin Ryan

17:32 PM, 1st April 2023, About A year ago

Let me throw this idea out there :
Modern gypsum plaster / plasterboard is non breathable. It traps damp in a wall. So if you have solid walls / no cavity then the wall can become damp during wet weather and remain damp all the way through.
If you strip off the existing gypsum plaster and use a lime mortar mix to coat the wall on the interior instead of gypsum then the wall can release the moisture through the lime plaster.
The use of lime is very traditional and dates back probably hundreds of years.

This concept, if I can call it that is well known among Listed Building owners.
So something to consider maybe.

Another comment, if you use say one of the damp proof paints etc you are sealing the moisture in the wall. In the longer term this could be create other problems.

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