A Landlord’s Guide to Damp, Mould and Dust Prevention

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Damp and mould is a frequent dilemma for landlords and their tenants, which is why it should always be considered as a serious problem.

It’s very important for both parties to take good care with this issue, which is why we have written this guide to help both landlords and tenants ensure their properties are free from damp and mould.

Landlords need to take the necessary preparation to reduce the risks of the property being damaged. Older properties tend to take the fall first, however new ones can be threatened by damp and mould too, so it’s important to take the right approach in every case.

To prevent the problems from worsening, training the tenant on this issue sufficiently is a great way to sustain a healthy home.

How can it start appearing in a property?

  • Condensation forms when humid air makes contact with a cold surface. This causes water droplets to form, and further seeps into the material as it dries. Over time, this will cause the surface to wear, fade or may even increase the chances of mould growth.
  • Hot baths and showers can create mass amounts of steam that hits the cool surfaces of your bathroom further creating condensation to form. The surrounding floor around your bathroom fixtures will see dampness from bathroom activities.
  • Cooking also increases the risk of damp areas forming in your properly. Evaporation from saucepans and ovens will spread through the nearby area and convert to condensation.
  • Cold weather conditions and winter is another factor. Rain can cause damage from the outside if it turns to frost on windows or gets between cracks.

Where can it appear?

Here are the most common places you can expect to find dust, damp and mould in your home. It’s important to check each area on a regular basis and clean when necessary

  • As windows condensate, water droplets will fall below the walls of this area
  • Floors around toilets bath and shower, spaces under dishwashers, ovens and washing machines
  • Dust becomes damp and can further rot in the gaps between your kitchens
  • Around the inner walls of a chimney
  • Near damaged or blocked downspouts
  • Bottom of walls, skirting boards, wall corners, and wooden floors
  • Exposed Soil & Standing water
  • Between cracks and under objects that aren’t regularly checked or cleaned, e.g. shower mat

 It’s always recommended to be vigilant with your property, but this is even more important in winter. Take a look at our 7 essential winter maintenance tips for landlords where we cover some more essential tips for looking after your properties during the colder months.

Prevention tips

 Now that we know how and where damp and mould can appear, we need to find out how to cease its appearance wherever possible. Here are some ways that you can reduce the risks of damp and mould occurring:

  • When showing keep a window open for 20 minutes
  • Dry clothing outside
  • Ensure shower curtains are neatly extended fully so that they can dry quicker
  • Encourage the opening of trickle vents to improve ventilation
  • Use a heating thermostat to control the temperature of a room at a given place and time
  • When cooking, cover the steam with a lid – open windows during or after to maintain ventilation
  • Keep a clean workplace by wiping condensation – letting it dry will rot the material
  • Make sure your windows are fitted properly; call a qualified surveyor who can do this for you
  • Check that your extractor fans are fitted and operational
  • When redecorating, use a good quality fungicidal paint with mould and mildew resistant chemicals

What to do if you do find mould

 If you find damp and mould, it can cause damage to the property and to your health. This is why it’s important to only attempt to remove mould created by condensation, and do not attempt to remove it if is caused by contaminated water or sewage – this will require specialist mould removal.

When removing mould, wear rubber gloves, goggles and a mask to protect your face before attempting to remove the mould. Open all nearby windows to prevent the spores from spreading.

So, let’s get rid of that mould once and for all. Here are 5 steps you can follow once you’re prepared and have the appropriate equipment:

Step 1: Have a container or bag ready to remove any objects with mould attached to them.

Step 2: Fill a bucket with clean water and add a small amount of washing liquid (If there’s too much detergent, add more water until mild). Assess whether or not the soapy water will ruin the material you’re intending to wipe.

Step 3: Use a clean cloth and the bucket water to carefully wipe the mould off the object/material. Once clear, use a dry cloth or tissue to dry the area.

Step 4  Don’t forget to give the surrounding area a clean to prevent mould from redeveloping.

For more important property condition advice, read our top fair wear and tear tips for landlords.

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