Preventing Water Damage In Rental Properties

Preventing Water Damage In Rental Properties

8:25 AM, 9th October 2012, About 11 years ago 29

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Steve Dalloway Preventing Water Damage In Rental PropertiesHi, I’m Steve Dalloway and I’ve been asked to write a series of short articles for Property118 focussing on preventing water damage in rental properties.

As a Landlord and a member of the NLA (National Landlords Association) myself, sometimes it’s very frustrating to see the state that some people leave bathrooms in when they depart from your property. This is the first in a series of six articles so please watch this space for more hints and tips being released every week day for the next week or so.

Older properties seem to suffer more than most when it comes to water damage. However, even new properties can get in a right mess too.

The main two complaints we hear about are mould growth and water damage caused by overflows or leaks.

The good news is there is stuff out there that can really help you overcome these problems and I will be sharing information about these in this series of articles.

Let’s start with the major pain in bathrooms. From a building and renovation point of view, there are certain things you can do to make the bathroom last longer between refurbishments and that saves a lot of time and money.

Tackling mould……..

From my standpoint there are a few things the conscientious landlord needs to do to combat the “dreaded black mould”. They are not really hard to do either, it’s a bit of the “blimey that’s obvious” once you know……

Mould really needs three things to grow.

  1. A warm environment
  2. A moist environment
  3. Something to grow on ( Shampoo / Conditioner / Soap / Dirt and Other Stuff……)

So it’s not surprising that the bathroom fits these above criteria down to a tee.

So what would be my top tips to keep the mould at bay ?

  1. Make sure the bathroom has a decent radiator to give some warmth.
  2. Fit a good quality “humidity sensing” extractor fan – This is a must.
  3. Use sealant that does not go black and mouldy and yes one exists.
  4. Use shower curtains as opposed to Bath Screens as they are better in keeping water in the bath.
  5. Use a system to seal in bathtubs and shower trays that prevents mould growth and stops leaks happening and yes this exists too.
  6. Consider the ultimate solution for preventing overflows

Heating the bathroom……

This is difficult as tenants tend to throw wet towels over the bathroom radiator to dry them.

My solution is to let the tenant have some drying towel radiator “Hook Overs”, so they can dry the towels without smothering the radiator and pulling it away from the wall. I supply at least two of these per flat and a drying clothes horse type unit too.

If anyone has questions, I’d be happy to answer them or offer advice on best practice.

My next article is about humidity sensing extractor fans, I have these in all my flats and they are brilliant!

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Lynne Davis

19:41 PM, 9th October 2012, About 11 years ago

So what sealant and sealant systems do you recommend... or do we need to wait for a later article to find out? We're just about to complete the purchase on a house that needs the seal around the bath replacing so this is very timely!

19:57 PM, 9th October 2012, About 11 years ago

I use Dow Corning 785 on my properties that I renovate to sell but in the rentals I have used it and it still gets mould on even though it is kind of a standard trade one to use. It is good to work with though and sets very quickly.

Steve Dalloway

20:45 PM, 9th October 2012, About 11 years ago

Hi Mark, we use a product made in the UK by Everbuild called forever white and forever clear. It's very good and has a 10 year mould warranty. We've used about 8000 tubes of it in the last few years and no one yet has come back with mould problems. Works easily and we love it. Mainly we use this in our bath seals & shower seals. Not available in the sheds though. Any questions just ask.....

Steve Dalloway

20:51 PM, 9th October 2012, About 11 years ago

Hi Lynne, Mark at Property118 has broken my article into 5 sections as he felt it was easier to digest this way. We know all about sealing in baths & showers to prevent leaks and black mould. Have a look at bath seal ultra 10 on our website and it's worth watching he video too so as you can see how it works. It's a piece of cake. Any questions, just ask as we are happy to help..... Steve.....

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

21:03 PM, 9th October 2012, About 11 years ago

Hi Steve, is the cideo on You Tube? If so please send me a link and I will embed it into the relevant article. Same for any other videos that might fit well.

21:24 PM, 9th October 2012, About 11 years ago

Thanks for the tip I'll definitely be giving it a try in the future, shame I've just resealed a shower ready for a new tenant, I'll probably be doing it again next year....

Steve Dalloway

21:45 PM, 9th October 2012, About 11 years ago

There are always more trays to seal. We aim in our properties to re-seal every 5-10 years. Thx for the comments.


22:46 PM, 9th October 2012, About 11 years ago

I would also say:

1. In my experience most tenants, especially in houseshares, don't care about how their own behaviour is causing black-spot mould.They want a warm house, langorous 20-minute showers, and *will not* open windows to improve ventilation. If mould appears, it is your fault for operating a "damp" house, and some tenants will not be slow in reporting you to Environmental Health for forcing them to live in humid and mould-generating conditions. It you want to save your property from black-spot and your own sanity when forced into meetings with EHOs, it's up to you to make the house idiot-proof.
2. towel radiators: pay a little extra for one with an electric heating circuit so it can be used in summer when the rest of the central heating is off, or have it on a separate heating circuit from the main central heating, again so it can be operated independently.
3. consider installing a humidistat extractor fan in the kitchen, as a lot of humidity is generated there too, and tenants can rarely be bothered to use hob extractors, even when cooking mackeral or other smelly fish.
4. Always go for the quietest extrator fan you can afford, otherwise tenants are prone to turning them off at night using the override switch and then forget to turn them on again, which makes the whole device useless.
5. look for external causes of moisture ingress as well as providing tenants with means to reduce internal humidity generated by their own activities. So-called "rising damp" is an extremely rare phenomenon and is usually explained by simple external causes or too much internal humidity leading to black-spot mould. For example, have the paths been built up or earht piled up over the damp-proof course, so moisture is entering the building laterally or reducing the capacity of the walls to breathe? Has the mortar in your old house underneath the damp course worn away, so water is entering the building laterally? Do your gutters leak, spraying water over the bricks and again reducing the ability of the building to breathe?
6. I find hook-over towel rails are very inefficient, as radiators, despite their name, are designed to work by warm air rising vertically, not by horizontal radiation onto the towels. It can be useful to have an old-style airing cupboard, or even a close-at-hand tumble drier, though tenants object to the perceived cost of these, so will persist in using maidens to dry their clothes despite the fug of warm dank air these tend to create unless someone opens a window from time to time.
7. Tenants do not like shower curtains that are too flimsy and are sucked around one's legs during a shower. Buy a good-quality heavy one from M&S or a department store, and aim to replace annually as they can get dirty and saturated with water.
8. I'd also add a fourth category to Steve's list of what mould likes: it likes cold corners with little air circulation where warm moist air tends to condense. Hence the need for extractor fans, but there's little you can do in bedrooms where the windows are never opened and there's piles of stuff blocking air circulation.
9. HG Hagesan mould killer works well, but will mark your clothes and hurt your eyes if you are not very careful where you spray it.
10. Mould is a particular problem in modern properties, because they are so air-tight and well-insulated. Tenants generate lots of moisture and it has nowhere to go - no chimneys, few draughts, insufficiently-used extractors and windows means many modern flats can become fuggy and dank, with poor air quality and lots of mould. Everyone hates trickle vents in double-glazed windows, and they don't work. Curtains block the air flow; tenants close the vents because of the draught and noise penetration. That's why quiet strong humidistats or, ideally, a whole-house ventilation system by the likes of Regavent are the only real solution. The latter may well become compulsary under the building regulations in a few years, once people wake up to the problems of excessive humidity and over-heating caused by the contemporary mania for draughtless insulated-to-death "zero carbon" housing.

ellis freeman

5:40 AM, 10th October 2012, About 11 years ago

I have looked at the bath and tray sealer on the video and I have been doing this for years using upvc quadrant used for double glasing trim, costs about £5 for 5 metres from selco, and mould resistant sealant. Plus I use there upvc tounge and groove style cladding sheets to make bath panels that are a lot thicker and stronger than the flimsy ones you buy for baths. About £8 for 5 metres by 30cm sheet which will do a side and end panel plus a "p" section for the bottom and side trim, and a 90 degree piece for the corner joints, costs about £12 to do and have had no broken ones unlike the thin ones you buy, a bit more work to fit but worth the effort.

Joe Bloggs

8:04 AM, 10th October 2012, About 11 years ago

the article is contradictory. its states mould needs a warm environment and then recommends radiators! mould does NOT need a warm environment, it needs cold surfaces on which steam can condense back into water. also it doesnt need 'Shampoo / Conditioner / Soap / Dirt and Other Stuff……' as demonstrated by mould often growing on window single (cold) glazing irrespective of cleanliness.

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