Landlords Should Beware of the Costs of Condensation

Landlords Should Beware of the Costs of Condensation

16:05 PM, 10th February 2012, About 12 years ago 6

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– News Sourced by Property118 News Team –

Landlords have been told to ensure their tenants know how to deal with and prevent mould from condensation by The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks.

With the cold meaning bathrooms windows will be firmly shut, condensation could be creating costly-to-fix damp. The AIIC have created a check list for landlords to give to tenants:

  • Dry all windows, windowsills, and any other surfaces that have become wet. Ensure you wring out the cloth thoroughly, do not dry on the radiator!
  • Try to keep the interior temperature of the property at a reasonably constant level.
  • If possible, always hang your washing outside. If this is not possible, you could hang it in the bathroom, with the door closed, and window slightly open for ventilation. Do NOT dry washing on radiators as this will add to the moisture already in the air.
  • Ensure that all extractor fans are working efficiently. Noisy extractors will encourage tenants leave turned off. (If an extractor cannot hold a postcard to the vent when switched on it is not efficient enough).
  • If you use a tumble dryer, ensure it is well ventilated to the outside, or that it is the new condensing type.
  • to ventilate your kitchen when in use, either by opening a window slightly, or using the extractor fan. Try to ventilate both kitchens and bathrooms for at least twenty minutes after use.
  • If a property is prone to condensation then daily use of a de-humidifier unit can be very beneficial. These come in all shapes and sizes, cost very little to run and draw out the excess moisture from the air helping to keep the condensation under control.

It’s not just the costs of the problems the mould may create, but also the health of the tenants in occupation.

Pat Barber, Chair of the AIIC exlained. “The mould fungi have been identified as the source of many health problems, including infections, asthma, allergies and sinusitis. Moulds produce allergens, irritants, and in some cases, toxins that may cause reactions in humans.

“Landlords and agents need to be aware of the potential problems which damp, excessive condensation and mould growth can cause and should take steps to minimise the risks. It is unlikely that rented accommodation can be completely condensation free, even a new one. However by keeping the property properly maintained and thinking about occupiers’ lifestyles, landlords and agents should be able to control it to acceptable levels.”

Read more about dealing with damp

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7:59 AM, 14th February 2012, About 12 years ago

Condensation is more of a problem than most people realise.  Having renovated some flats to the very highest standards, I was plagued with condensation in some, as my tenants continue to dry clothes indoors without opening windows - even though they have tumble dryers and outside washing lines - and they have the temerity to continue breathing - every single day..... 

Building standards have contributed to this, as we now build these little insulated boxes, which hardly need any heating, but do not allow the moisture content in the air to escape.  I have put in extra trickle vents, air bricks, re-insulated outside walls and provided humidifiers.  It feels as though we built a property, covered it with cotton wool and are now poking holes through it everywhere to introduce air back in.  May as well have left it as it was originally - a draughty Victorian building.  I have heard of several instances recently of year old flats covered in mould, so I know I am not alone.

Councils produce masses of leaflets on this - Condensation and Mould, C & M for tenants, Landlords guide to C&M , Is this rising damp? - no! - Keep out Damp, No more Mould, Black marks?-Never! - you get the idea...  They are issued in the "Welcome Pack" to the new tenant of a Council property in some areas.

You do need to work quite hard training your tenants, (even moreso than the "disposal of rubbish" lessons,) as they have to change their habits - such as opening windows regularly and particularly when drying clothes or cooking and having the heating on longer and lower (or even putting it on at all) and not turning off all those expensive fans.  If not, and they get a severe asthma attack due to mould spores - guess whose fault it is.....


11:07 AM, 14th February 2012, About 12 years ago

I agree: condensation is a serious problem in new-build properties because they are built so tightly. Tenants will not open the windows in winter because it's cold and they're wasting heat, and trickle-vents are next to useless. I bought a dehumidifier, but they forget to run them, and persist on drying clothes on the radiators or on racks, rather than use the tumble drier, on grounds of cost. The only thing that persuaded my tenants to change their behaviour eventually was when they got mould spores on the clothes in their wardrobes, for which they blamed me.

Mary Latham

11:47 AM, 14th February 2012, About 12 years ago

Tenants do not open windows and the sun does not shine at night. 

I have fitted humidity controlled extraction in all my kitchens and bathrooms, trickle vents in all windows and PVC sheeting to ceilings and, in some properties to walls, of my bathrooms. These measure have almost removed mould from those properties.  I have used thermal boards on single brick walls in my Victorian terrraces and this has made a huge difference too.

Ironically it is the new builds that cause my problems too and in particular the ensuite bathrooms which have no windows at all and extractors are turned off. I think my only hope might be to offer to send in cleaners every few months to prevent a build up which is bad for the health of my tenants and looks awful.

11:49 AM, 14th February 2012, About 12 years ago

In new build, I think you should always fit some type of central Heat Recovery Ventilation System that is just left running all the time. In small old build Positive Input Ventilation can be a quick fix.

The building regs now require ventilation systems in new build, but they are not enforced very well, also they not require as much as is needed in real life.


12:42 PM, 14th February 2012, About 12 years ago

Interesting.  Mary, I have taken the same precautions as you, except you lost me with the PVC sheeting to ceilings - is that the black stuff - and do you put it under plaster/boards?  I always use moisture resistant boards - not that it helps when they turn off the fans, as you said.

I thought it was par for the course to have to rip out sealant around showers and sinks more or less every tenancy change.

Re: the article - I rarely find that "thinking" about the tenants' lifestyles does anything at all except make me a little depressed!

Mary Latham

13:38 PM, 14th February 2012, About 12 years ago

gilly I use a product called wet wall on my high end properties and either a B&Q product that comes in 30mm wide 2.1 lengths or a product which I buy from a pvc supplier that is used on the outside of buildings called soffit board.  This also comes in lengths similar to the B&Q product but is less expensive.  These products are tongued and grooved ad fit tightly together, they should be well sealed with a good silicone sealent.  They can be fixed on top of tiles, plaster, paint anything really.  They are really easy to clean with a wet sponge and washing up liquid and they don't go mouldy because they have a tiny cavity, this is why they are so light and easy to handle, which keeps the face warm.

Two things that you need to remember if you do this
1. The toilet and basin will be the cold surfaces where there will be condensation.  Tenants often think they are leaking
2. You may get black mould on windows because of the increased condensation

Both these things are easier to clean than ceilings and tiles/grout and most of my tenants realise that it is their responsibility to clean them. I have used these products for 15 years and once they are wiped they look as good as the day they were fitted.

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