Educating tenants and property visits are key in fighting mould

Educating tenants and property visits are key in fighting mould

10:05 AM, 2nd March 2023, About 12 months ago 12

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Landlords should be educating their tenants and inspecting properties regularly in a bid to combat the issues that come with dangerous mould, one organisation says.

No Letting Go also points out that ‘proactive ventilation’ can help reduce the risk of damp and mould in rental properties.

The inventory specialists warn that letting agents and landlords must monitor properties closely and educate tenants on the causes of damp and mould.

While mould has been an issue for years it has been brought into the spotlight following the death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak in December 2020.

‘Damp and mould has long been a problem in private rentals’

The firm’s chief executive, Nick Lyons, said: ““Although recent headlines have focused on the social housing sector, dangerous damp and mould has long been a problem in private rentals too.

“Damp and mould growth is number one on the checklist for the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) that is also part of the Fitness for Human Habitation Bill.”

And with research suggesting that the average family produces 20 pints of moisture a day, tenants play a key role in reducing mould growth.

With so much moisture, day-to-day living can cause mould growth when spores germinate on contact with surfaces that are damp through condensation.

Landlord guidance on the health risks of damp

The government has pledged to review landlord guidance on the health risks of damp and mould with housing minister Michael Gove warning that the private rental sector, as part of wider rental reforms, will see time limits on investigating hazards and a new ombudsman.

No Letting Go has a range of tips for reducing moisture that it frequently circulates to tenants.

These include opening trickle vents in double glazed windows, keeping kitchen and bathroom doors shut and using extractor fans.

The firm also says that mid-term property inspections are crucial to allow landlords and letting agents to identify signs of mould growth.

‘Remind tenants of their responsibilities’

Mr Lyons said: “These actions may seem straight-forward, but it’s important for landlords and letting agents to remind tenants of their responsibilities.

“Reducing the opportunities for mould to grow is crucial in preventing future health problems for tenants while also maintaining landlords’ properties.”

Some of the other steps landlords and agents can encourage tenants to take, according to No Letting Go, are:

Making sure the heating isn’t on for short periods of time (one hour or less) as this can make moisture problems worse

Putting furniture up against inside walls without overfilling wardrobes, cupboards and chests of drawers.

Opening windows wide for short periods of time (30-60 minutes), making sure not to over-ventilate or the property will lose heat.


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Comments

John Cook

12:33 PM, 2nd March 2023, About 12 months ago

I have always thought it somewhat ironic that the window manufacturers go to great lengths and cost to make windows with a 100% neoprene sealing system. When they found this contributed to mould, they cut a hole in the window frame and called it a trickle vent! I have found our tenants tape over the trickle vents to prevent drafts and heat loss. Often bathrooms are fitted with delayed switch-off fans connected to the lighting circuit, so the fan runs for 20mins after the light is switched off. We discovered that tenants would use the bathroom without switching on the lights, causing condensation. Our best answer was to fix a PIR in the ceiling which switched on the fan whenever anyone entered the bathroom. I am happy to report that this solution has worked in most cases.

northern landlord

12:47 PM, 2nd March 2023, About 12 months ago

Mould is apparently a constant problem in the PRS but not it seems in the owner occupied sector even though they are evenly matched in EPC terms. What this article tends to confirm is that mould is mainly down to the behaviour of tenants which is something all Landlords know already. I don’t think any tenant would take kindly to being “educated” by their landlord about mould or appreciate regular mould check-up visits with Landlords throwing the windows open.
As it is such an issue the Government should put a section on mould prevention in the “How to Rent” booklet under the “What a tenant must do section”. As a way of “reminding tenants of their responsibilities”.

John Clark

17:11 PM, 2nd March 2023, About 12 months ago

Reply to the comment left by John Cook at 02/03/2023 - 12:33
Doesn't the isolation switch for the fan fitted in or outside most bathrooms mean that some tenants will use it if the fan is noisy?

robert fisher

17:53 PM, 2nd March 2023, About 12 months ago

My agent recently went to see a tenant who reported mould , He duly educated them on ventilation of wet areas and when drying clothes etc. The tenant then reported the mould issue to the council enforcement team as she did not agree the mould was her problem to deal with. To be fair to Peterborough councils enforcement team who came out to inspect the property they agreed entirely with my agent and told the tenant how to ventilate and deal with mould caused by themselves. Not often someone has anything positive to say about a council enforcement team on here. Well done Peterborough council.

John Cook

18:10 PM, 2nd March 2023, About 12 months ago

Reply to the comment left by John Clark at 02/03/2023 - 17:11Good point. We put the isolation switch in the roof space, so it can be reached from the hatch when needed. We don't tell the tenants where it is.

Grumpy Doug

18:44 PM, 2nd March 2023, About 12 months ago

Reply to the comment left by John Cook at 02/03/2023 - 18:10
I do likewise. All my bathrooms also have motion detector switches for the fan so it comes on automatically when they go into the bathroom. Covers me for showers during the day. Fans are beefy inline Vortice units in the loft that are wonderfully quiet yet super powerful. All ceilings are panelled with 5mm T&G plastic panels. Cheap as chips and just wipe off if any mould appears.

Derek Cole

18:55 PM, 2nd March 2023, About 12 months ago

I have had issues with tenants not ventilating this winter. Along with educating them, I supplied a Hygrometer which provides a "nudge" to the tenant via the digital display. This has proved very scusessful.

The hygromter also logs the environmental data which you can download to your phone via Bluetooth. Good data if a dispute arises.

Continiuous Bathroom fans with data loggers will also be fitted when tenancy ends.

Reluctant Landlord

11:07 AM, 3rd March 2023, About 12 months ago

Reply to the comment left by northern landlord at 02/03/2023 - 12:47
I am putting together a property specific sheet for that exact purpose and getting my tenants to sign this at the start of a new tenancy. Any failings at LL checks will be refenced back to the document.

All about ar$3 covering these days - a ridiculous situation that only served to creates bad feeling and yet more LL V tenant negative rhetoric .

Reluctant Landlord

11:09 AM, 3rd March 2023, About 12 months ago

I also take consumption meter reads at LL checks. If they aren't heating enough it can be pitched against the 'average' consumption (funnily enough as per EPC verification!!)...might as well use this useless report for something positive!

blair

14:00 PM, 4th March 2023, About 12 months ago

I am going to replace by bathroom extractor fans with heat recovery units. They are more expensive but effective and surely goes a long way to showing I a good landlord and recognising that the old issue in bathrooms is a problem. Plus I tell my tenants to keep the bathroom door shut even after showering rather than let the steam escape into other rooms of the house

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