Damp and what the correct next steps are?

by Readers Question

8:34 AM, 7th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Damp and what the correct next steps are?

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Damp and what the correct next steps are?

Tenant has just reported damp in many rooms of a small 2 room terraced property. Visited the property 8 weeks ago on an inspection and no issues. damp

Damp in many areas of the house downstairs and upstairs. Wipes off. House full of clutter. Internal doors shut. No air flow. Windows wet in condensation. Damp corse fitted in living room prior to this first tenancy.

We have agreed to 1) Rentokil report 2) exit from tenancy should they wish 3) left information on damp and condensation. No visible signs of exterior issues.

What should the next steps be to ensure an appropriate resolution – we don’t want it to continue as it looks like living conditions could be the major cause?

Many thanks

Simon



Comments

Neil Patterson

8:38 AM, 7th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi Simon,

I am no expert, but if you do an article search for "damp" we have had tens and tens of articles on the subject that you should find very helpful 🙂

Please see >> http://www.property118.com/article-archive/

Laura Delow

9:55 AM, 7th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Hmmm....condensation & resultant mould is a landlords bug bear which we are often misguided on how to solve. Read building & restoration specialist Heritage House which is quite an eye opener with regards the structure of the building being the cause from so-called experts.
http://www.heritage-house.org/managing-damp-in-old-buildings.html
The key thing landlords have to accept is that not all tenants will do what they're advised to do and the responsibility will constantly fall back in your lap. Do not however stop constantly advising tenants. The attached link has one of the best visual guide for tenants that I've seen. http://www.eastbourne.gov.uk/EasysiteWeb/getresource.axd?AssetID=216409&type=full&servicetype=Inline
The key things for you to do is ensure there is adequate ventilation & air circulation, so i) shave all internal doors by 10 mm to allow air to circulate throughout the property even if the tenant doesn't leave doors ajar as advised, ii) ensure furniture is not right up against external walls ie there is a gap to allow air to circulate and if possible only place furniture against internal walls, iii) although not cheap, all properties I've installed ventilation units in that operate 24/7 & require no input from the tenant, have seen a dramatic improvement ie the problems have been dramatically reduced, even stopped the problem in some cases - see - http://www.envirovent.com iv) if still a problem, provide them with a dehumidifier - a good 10 litre one costs about £85 from B&Q & my tenant says it works fantastically when drying clothes indoors or cooking/bathing (tenants are unlikely to open windows but are usually happy to turn on & empty a dehumidifier) see one I bought -http://www.appliancesdirect.co.uk/p/cd10l/electriq-cd10l-dehumidifier?refsource=APadwords&crtag=AP&gclid=Cj0KEQiAjpGyBRDgrtLqzbHayb8BEiQANZauh1-3zhgbhrDPSCyWIYfi10T-Q2Gf1zYEW7ex0Xs6PvEaAoD98P8HAQ
The Leeds energy guide gives other good examples of what a landlord should do as well as the tenant. Good luck

Joe Bloggs

11:40 AM, 7th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Laura Delow" at "07/12/2015 - 09:55":

HI LAURA,

'The key things for you to do is ensure there is adequate ventilation & air circulation, so i) shave all internal doors by 10 mm to allow air to circulate throughout the property even if the tenant doesn’t leave doors ajar as advised,'

THIS IS NOT GOOD ADVICE. ALL THAT DOES IS TO ALLOW HUMID AIR TO CIRCULATE, WHEN WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO ACHIEVE IS MORE ARID CONDITIONS AND EXPELLING THE HUMIDITY TO THE EXTERIOR. FURTHERMORE, NOT A GOOD IDEA TO MAKE GAPS IN FIRE DOORS!

Gary Dully

9:48 AM, 8th December 2015
About 3 years ago

I want to help every Landlord in the UK and Australia!

I want you to do a Google Trend for "Rising Damp"

https://www.google.co.uk/trends/explore#q=rising%20damp&cmpt=q&tz=Etc%2FGMT

Look at the World Map and see how every other country in the World looks at the Quaint Old British Tradition of being "ripped off" by the Damp Proof Industry.

See how the French scream with laughter at us English!

The cause of your problem, will be lack of ventilation or outside cement rendering with a non-Lime based product or both.

Get a Hygrometer from ebay or elsewhere for about £8 and place it in each room of the property.

Get some hard figures first.

If you have the money to burn get a heat imaging camera and look for "Cold Spots".

If the cold spot is cooler than the "dew point" being registered on the Hygrometer - you are going to get condensation on the inside - ie:damp walls.

Then tell your tenant to either ventilate or get a dehumidifier to stop this continuing.

Black spot mould spores are all over planet Earth, if you give em water - you will see em flourish.

The Americans dont have a single DPC hole in a single brick in New York and neither do the Dutch, who dont even have Damp Proof Courses and injection damp proofing.

They specialise and focus on ventilation!

For more help - and they dont try and sell you anything, (except the Google Ads that they have no control over), go to 2 web pages that will change your Landlord Life For Ever.

1. http://heritage-house.org/managing-damp-in-old-buildings.html
2. http://heritage-house.org/the-ping-prong-meter-guilty-of-fraud.html

Get your render removing chisel ready!

Gary Dully

9:56 AM, 8th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Oh and do a search on "Penetrating Damp" and now get angry with your building surveyor.

https://www.google.co.uk/trends/explore#q=penetrating%20damp&cmpt=q&tz=Etc%2FGMT

John Hart

8:08 AM, 9th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Thank you all for your guidance and ideas which we will investigate further. In the meantime we have sent the following letter, should this be of use to others....

We would like to reconfirm our conversation during the site visit on Xxxxxxx - after your call on Xxxxxxxx regarding your concern of some dark patches in various areas of the property at Xxxxxxx:

During our visit, we checked for any signs of unwanted water leaks from outside or plumbing leaks inside that could cause unwanted moisture sources. We could not find any. Please note, if there are any signs of water entering the property it is your responsibility to promptly notify us, prefereably in writing, so that we can take action to prevent damage to the structure.

We pointed out evidence of condensation and moisture, for example on the inside of the bedroom and living room windows (very wet), corners of rooms and in places where there is restriction or little movement of air. We explained that build up of condensation can lead to damp which then turns into mould. The response to this should be to ensure quick and thorough ventilation of the rooms and during our visit, we provided you with details and simple guidance to help prevent problems.

We explained that the problem was condensation through lack of venitlation. Windows and doors were closed with heating on high and a lot of furnishings and boxes etc piled up very close to walls enabling lack of ventialtion and air - leading to dark patches in those areas. You expressed a concern that the house had damp and we explained that a damp proof course had been carried out by Rentokil in January 2015 with a 30 yr guarantee. There is no evidence of structual problems that we can see. On describing the situation to both Rentokil and Enivrovent, the consensus is that cndensation is a major cause.

We agreed to pay Rentokil ourselves to visit the property again to confirm the problem was condensation in the hope that this would assure you. We have since spoken to them, given details and have forwarded your telephone contact number so that they can call to make an appointment to assess the situation. The representative is called Mr Xxxxxxxxx. Please note that we are very eager to find a resolve to this situation quickly as we note the mould has grown very fast. (Upon the 6 month Tenancy Agreement check on Xxxxxxxxx there were no patches however there was conisderable amount of washing drying on radiators and on air racks, again with very little airflow in the house - windows and doors closed with heating high). So if you are unable to attend any of the dates Xxxxxxxx offers, one of us would be happy to meet him at the property.

We wish to re iterate that we are very keen to solve this issue quickly, not only to ensure you are both happy in your home but also to ensure no further damage to the property. Therefore, in the meantime we have detailed some ways in which to remove the mould and prevent condensation.

Removal of Mould

Please cleanup the signs of incidental mould growth according to the instructions provided.
wipe mould off immediately with water using a sponge or cloth
do not use washing up liquid
Apply diluted bleach solution to the wall or use recommended products/mould removal available from DIY stores
Dry clean clothes and shampoo carpets affected by mould
DO NOT simply paint over mould

Prevention of Condensation

Please follow the condensation prevention advice provided and ensure that you;
keep relative humidity below 40 to 50 percent
cook with lids and do not leave the kettle boiling
do not dry clothing on indoor clothes lines or racks - if drying wet washing indoors put in the bathroom with the doors closed and window left open
make sure the “used” indoor air gets exchanged daily by opening doors and windows
close kitchen and bathroom doors when in use. This will help prevent moisture reaching other rooms, especially bedrooms which are often colder and more likely to get condensation
avoid putting too many things in your cupboards and wardrobes as this stops air circulating
wipe excess condensation off windows and surfaces with a towel each morning
use a dehumidifier if necessary

As part of the Tennancy Agreement Act we would like to inform you that if any problems lie within the structure of the building then it is our responsibliiy, as landlords, to ensure the issue is corrected and we can assure you we will take all appropriate steps to do so.
However should damange to the property be as a result of condensation due to lack of care and due consideration, as tenants then you are responsible for the repair and damage to the walls, windows, skirting boards etc.

We will contact you again within the next 3 weeks to discuss any further details. In the hope that we can resolve the mould issue between us, please do not hesitate to call or e mail should you have any further questions.

Best wishes

John Hart

8:20 AM, 9th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Btw. Typos sorted ! 🙂

Renovate To let

9:13 AM, 9th December 2015
About 3 years ago

I take the approach of trying to make it easy for the tenant.

Does the property have an automatic extractor in the bathroom (ie with humidistat control)?

Is there an extractor (not circulator) in the kitchen?

Are there trickle vents in the windows?

Is there provision for a tumble dryer (with a wall vent ready)?

Its all well and good to say "you must ventilate" but they also must live, breathe, bathe, wash and dry clothes, cook etc in amongst living securely.

Joe Bloggs

9:34 AM, 9th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Hart" at "09/12/2015 - 08:08":

'Windows and doors were closed with heating on high...'

HEATING ON HIGH IS GOOD...THIS REDUCES CONDENSATION AS IT WARMS COLD SURFACES AND KEEPS THE DAMP IN THE AIR RATHER THAN ON COLD SURFACES.

ANYONE WHO WANTS TO DISAGREE PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST.

Robert Desbruslais

9:47 AM, 12th December 2015
About 3 years ago

I am a chartered Building Surveyor and encounter this regularly. The only way of managing the problem is by ensuring moisture is expelled to the exterior. Install a humidistat in the bathroom and ideally air vents in the outside walls. As a condition of the tenancy explain the tenants must not vlock the vents. Alternatively if you have double glazing ask the tenants to keep them locked in the 'ajar' position. Purchase a tumble drier that ducts to the outside. Thsee steps.should resolve the matter.

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