Structural survey was OK but tenants report damp after just two weeks

Structural survey was OK but tenants report damp after just two weeks

11:48 AM, 15th February 2015, About 9 years ago 24

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I recently posted the ‘Newbie‘ thread so I haven’t been a landlords for very long.

I bought a mid-terrace in December 2014 which, before I bought it, I had a full buildings survey done as I wanted to try, as best I could, to highlight any major things wrong with the property in order to minimise my risk of costly expenses as soon as I’m starting out. Structural survey was OK but tenants report damp after just two weeks

I have today been contacted by my agent, with 3 pictures of damp walls just two weeks after my first tenants moved in. I did not see any damp or wet walls in the period of viewing the property around July right through to before they moved in, so like many of your articles suggest, I’m hoping it is the tenants not ventilating the property properly.

I did take in everything you said about a rainy day fund and I’m currently working on about 9% of debt in terms of liquidity so its not like this is going to ruin me. However, as this is my first property, the prospects of having to spend  ‘£1,000’s on damp proofing’ comes to mind, hence I’m worrying a little.

I read your reply to one damp article in regards to asking the surveyor to view the property again. If I ring them up and explain the issue, do they have to go our and recheck or can they so no unless you pay ‘X amount? I’m worried I’ll ring up and they’ll fob me off, and as I’m not 100% on the matter I’ll just take it as red.

Hope you can help.


David Wigley

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Joe Bloggs

15:40 PM, 16th February 2015, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "15/02/2015 - 12:02":

hi mark,
the term structural survey relates to a survey of just the structure. it used to relate to an inspection of everything but the RICS changed this decades ago. the poster has used the correct terminology 'building survey'.

philip allen

15:47 PM, 16th February 2015, About 9 years ago

All the above are very helpful answers. I should add that Envirovent recently carried out a survey for me and then reported back that there was little they could help with until the tenant altered their habits, i.e. not drying washing on the radiator, etc. That was much appreciated as Envirovent's business is to sell extractors etc.
Please don't be coerced into believing anything said by a builder with a damp meter. As already advised 'penetrating damp' is caused by exterior problems, broken or blocked gutters and the like. 'Rising damp' can only be determined by taking samples for analysis in a laboratory.
From what you have said this is almost definitely a tenant lifestyle issue. We give a very good article on Damp and Condensation to our tenants. You should find it on Dartford Borough Council's website.

Pat A

15:49 PM, 16th February 2015, About 9 years ago

Hi Joe.

Yes i know that even breathing causes water in the atmosphere.
But i have found that tenant education works wonders.

I have known a tenant that was very tight when spending money on heating.

She sealed up every crack and crevice to prevent drafts, the outside wall was cold and she did all her drying inside . The place was covered in mold.

Mold can be a modern problem since coal fires were banished and now there is no place for water in the water in the atmosphere to vent or fresh air to come in.

I remember coal fires in old 1930-50's houses with absolutely no insulation, (hangers drying clothes on the picture frames 🙂 ) everyone used to dry their clothes indoor in the winter but i only remember mold growing on outside walls in the corners

Pat A

15:59 PM, 16th February 2015, About 9 years ago

In case i did not make myself clear. Which is usual for me. 🙂
I am not talking about a damp reader that you place against the wall . I am talking about a small hand held machine the size of an old mobile phone that measures the amount of water in the air. Most of the de humidifiers have a gauge on them that tells you how much water is in the atmosphere and when it gets to 50 and below you know the air is dry. A de humidifier can take a bucket of water out of the air every day at first from clothes drying, baths and cooking. I know because i have one and when i first used it i emptied the bucket every day. The bucket only gets full every 3-4 days now.

Joe Bloggs

16:09 PM, 16th February 2015, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "patty atkins" at "16/02/2015 - 15:59":

hi patty,
the instrument for measuring humidity is a hygrometer.

Pat A

16:14 PM, 16th February 2015, About 9 years ago

Thanks Joe

Not being a builder, i can never remember the proper names. I only know that they exist . I just looked Hygrometer up and it looks like you can get them to fit on the wall like a barometer. That is interesting. Depending on the cost i could fit them in my tenants properties and they have something to measure their lifestyle air humidity against .

Joe Bloggs

16:22 PM, 16th February 2015, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "patty atkins" at "16/02/2015 - 16:14":

no problem. its not a builders tool. i have one that also measures temperature (which is also critical) and was cheap from screwfix or toolstation. however, do you think tenants will renew the batteries!?!?

Pat A

16:55 PM, 16th February 2015, About 9 years ago


Neil Robb

22:14 PM, 16th February 2015, About 9 years ago


Old terraced house are normally have no cavity so can not have insulation pumped into them.

I have a few terraced properties and have tenants say they are full of damp. In each and every time. It is the tenants way of living that has caused the problem.

If you say to the tenant I will be there at 10 am. I can bet the windows will be open. No washing on radiators. Go the next day asking did you leave something there I bet it wont be as the day before.

It is important not to place furniture against external walls or allow air to circulate a round the room.


22:23 PM, 16th February 2015, About 9 years ago

"Old terraced houses don't normally have cavity's"

I'm not sure what sort of turn of the century house you've got near you but in the south it's a tad different. So, anything 1900's onwards...

Cavity to front and rear. However you will prob. have a solid 9" wall between the properties within a run of terraces. Quite a bit of damp to the front and rear tends to come from blocked cavities at ground level. Some due to mortor falling out but the main problem is where UPVC windows are put in and all the crap falls down the cavity.

Super simple to fix. Take a few bricks out from outside and scrape the debris out.

Oh, the other common one is having outside levels too high, or even on the damp proof course.

Most damp problems are super simple and easy to fix.

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