Damp and Mould Issues in Terraced Property

by Readers Question

8:03 AM, 10th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Damp and Mould Issues in Terraced Property

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Damp and Mould Issues in Terraced Property

I became a member today and, although I have read many articles, this is my first post. Can I say, in opening, what a valuable resource this is. Damp and Mould Issues in Terraced Property

I have one BTL property near Barnsley which is an old (1885) terrace. I bought the property in November 2013 with tenants already in situ. The Home Buyers report said no damp was found.

On a visit just before Christmas I was told of a small damp patch in the corner on the floor of the upstairs bedroom. We agreed to monitor the situation and they would get in touch if it became a problem.

Having now read some articles I realise it was always going to ‘become a problem’!

However, I heard nothing from my tenants on this issue so when I visited again last Monday I was shocked to hear of their experience – there is black mould in the upstairs bedroom in the corner and under the window, mould under the downstairs window at the front (NW facing), peeling paint on an internal wall and the chimney breast had been damp to touch. The bathroom has also got mould – there is no extractor in there so I have asked an electrician for a quote to fit an Humidistat fan.

The tenants reported that they have been wiping the mould off and repainting or wallpapering over the affected areas. I know this is not the way to deal with it.

My question is what is the best way to tackle this issue?

Do I purchase a DIY eradication kit or does it need a proper investigation to find the cause?

If so, how do I find a reputable damp specialist working in the South Yorkshire area?

I am very keen to resolve this issue for my tenants as soon as possible.

Many thanks in anticipation.

Lynne



Comments

Mark Alexander

8:17 AM, 10th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Lynne

First off, welcome, flattery will get you everywhere 🙂

Damp and mould is a massive topic here on Property118 and has been covered many, many times. I did a google search for "Property118 damp mould" and found a whole list of articles and vibrant discussion. This is the link to the Google search results I found >>> https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=property118%20damp%20mould

Are you certain the damp and mould isn't due to the tenants lifestyle? In other words, are they ventilating the property correctly? Many problems are caused by tenants who take long hot showers, never open windowes, dry clothes on radiators or clothes horses etc.

Humidistat fans definitely help, I swear by them.

If there is a damp problem in the property them I have found Envirovent to be the best solution. They are not a sponsor here and I have no commercial relationship with them other than as a customer. They ought to sponsor us though given the number of times I give them free publicity - I will have to go on the scrounge again! Here's a link to their Twitter feed >> https://twitter.com/envirovent - they are a Yorkshire based company but they look after the whole of the UK. Most of my properties are in Norfolk. They offer a free survey and their solutions come with a money back guarantee. If they don't think their product will work they will tell you. They are not cheap but you get what you pay for - i.e. results.

Before you do any of this though I would contact the surveyor who did the homebuyers report if I were you and ask him to take another look. He should be able to tell you and the tenants what the cause of the damp is. If it's not lifestyle based, and it is something he missed in his survey, then you may be able to claim for any remedial work against his professional indemnity insurance policy. If in doubt pay for a second opinion.

I hope that helps.
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All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

8:30 AM, 10th July 2014
About 4 years ago

before you do any thing else ask the neighbours if the previous occupants had any damp issues. If they say no it is probably life-style issues by the tenant and these need explaining in detail....

However damp on a chimney breast could e that the chimney pot needs capping property.or an airbrick installing. Have you checked all the air bricks are not taped over? some tenants will do this to stop ~"draughts" without realising the consequences.

Mark Alexander

8:46 AM, 10th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "All BankersAreBarstewards Smith" at "10/07/2014 - 08:30":

Good points!
.

Sam Cowen

8:48 AM, 10th July 2014
About 4 years ago

I would agree with Mark and ask Envirovent to come and look at it. I had similar issues in my 19thC terraced cottage and once I had their pump fitted, it's no longer an issue. You can only ventilate so much by opening windows, and these houses are just not equipped to deal with the amount of moisture we create by showering, drying damp clothes or even just breathing, especially when you try to insulate and draught-proof them!

Lynne Tomlinson

8:55 AM, 10th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Very helpful, thank you. I shall certainly contact the surveyor. I did notice the chimney breast is wall papered and the tenants reported it had 'been filled in'. The property used to belong to the next door neighbour so the information came from the horse's mouth, so to speak. Hmm! Food for thought!
Lynne

paul landlord

9:00 AM, 10th July 2014
About 4 years ago

I agree with previous comments entirely.

But with over 40 properties in my portfolio and landlording for 20 years I have found it impossible to get some tenants to change their lifestyle.

In this circumstance I have found extremely good results from the 'positive input ventilation' units offered by companies like Environvent.

However these units can be purchased for around £300 and do not require any specialist knowledge to install. My regular maintenance man fits them in a few hours.

This has produced dramatic results in even the worst of situations.

Whether you use Environvent or DIY at a fraction of the cost, this is a highly recommended route

Simon Holloway

9:01 AM, 10th July 2014
About 4 years ago

I agree - it sounds like the problem is lack of ventilation. Is the property double glazed? - do the windows have trickle vents? Is there usually furniture in front of, or next to the places where mould is growing?

I have heard good things about RemCon and Nuaire Drimaster units. They work by very slightly raising the air pressure in the building which forces the damp air out of the property through any gaps, up the chimney etc etc.

If the problem is in rooms other than the bathroom, then I would suggest that fitting a humistat fan in there wont solve the whole issue - but you can never have too much ventilation!

Oh - and the NW facing wall...is it cavity wall or solid? If cavity, then has it been insulated? You may have "cold-bridging" - which is where outside air cools down the inside of the wall to below the dew-point and you get a persistent damp patch in that area.

Either way - cleaning and re-painting is not a long term fix.

Mark Alexander

9:19 AM, 10th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "paul landlord" at "10/07/2014 - 09:00":

Hi Paul

What alternative DIY positive input ventilation units are you referring to please?

As it is in the context of the article I am happy for you to name them and to post links so long as you can assure me that you are not promoting a business in which you have a commercial interest.
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rav singh

9:22 AM, 10th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi. As per previous quotes I agree with all. I been dealing with similar issues with a large portfolio over the years in brief all of below will help

- you can paint walls with an anti mould acrylic paint. Not cheap but works

- tricke vents on windows (double glazed)

- on chimney breast knock hole where old fireplace was and put vent in so air can flow

- check chimney pot

- clear all gutters and check roof for leaks

- clear cavities and fit air bricks on inside & external walls

- fit enviro vent in kitchens & bathrooms

- suggest dryers for tenants and washing lines in yard/garden

- educate tenants on mould & condensation

- if heating is electric I would suggest gch

- if damp course needed and it has cavity it can be done from outside through drilling through cavity to inside brick then injecting. Usually if inside plaster ok. So no mess inside

- put piece of wood on skurt so they can't put beds/furniture up against wall blocking air flow

- you can drill holes in back of furniture if its very bad

- poss take few mm off bottom of doors to get air flow into rooms

- tenants to open all windows for min 30 mins to let fresh air in and warm moist air out. (This final point is probably the easiest to do but the hardest to make happen. All experienced landlords will know this lol)

Hope that helps tried to list best points. If u implement all this I am confident you will be ok

Ian Ringrose

9:33 AM, 10th July 2014
About 4 years ago

I have used the Nuaire Drimaster PIV units without any issues, these are often sold new on eBay for a good price.

However if you have more than two stories then most PIV units don’t keep to the fire regulations. Also the cheaper PIV units don’t have a heater in them, so limiting where they can be sited due to a small risk of tenants feeling a daft.

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