For some landlords, condensation and black mould is a constant battle and tackling the problem can be an ongoing struggle between balancing constructive advice to the tenant while trying to gain access to the property to evaluate and remedy the issue.
Good landlords put their heart and soul into making a property into a home for someone, but condensation and black mould issues can often threaten to ruin it. If this situation sounds familiar and you need a little help and advice, then read on.
Firstly, what exactly is Condensation?
Condensation itself is the result of high levels of humid air trapped in a building or property that is unable to escape because of poor ventilation. In most cases it emerges from everyday living from boiling kettles to running a bath; the warm air in our homes can only hold so much moisture before it condenses onto colder surfaces.
If your property is suffering from condensation, you are not alone. One in five homes across the UK suffer from condensation and with the temperature continuing to drop over the winter months, your problems with condensation could get worse.
Our tips for tackling Condensation
1. Keep your property ventilated
Keeping a house ventilated is key when treating any form of condensation issue. Improve the ventilation in your property and you will most likely start to notice a real difference, but that is easier said than done.
Energy efficiency is increasingly becoming a priority for many landlords and tenants i.e. saving money on heating and energy bills. Triple glazing windows and installing insulation has now become the norm, but this is actually causing more moisture/condensation to become trapped within our properties. Finding a happy balance between heat retention and adequate ventilation is key. During the winter, many tenants may choose not to open windows to ventilate but there are solutions as a landlord that can keep your tenant happy and reduce condensation.
Our advice – consider solutions such as a Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) unit. It can provide clean filtered air through the entire home, creating a positive dry air so that the stagnant, moisture-laden air is dispersed air is pushed out of the property.
2. Tackle producing less moisture inside
If the installation of a Positive Input Ventilation unit is not practical, then along with improving ventilation within the property by other means, the tenant needs to be encouraged to produce less moisture within the property too.
With the average family of four producing approx 14 litres of water vapour each day from basic everyday living, minimising the amount of excess can seem daunting. As a landlord, the responsibility of how much moisture is produced is ultimately down to tenants and their everyday activities but encouraging your tenants to make simple lifestyle changes combined with improving the ventilation can make a huge difference.
What your tenant can do to reduce Condensation
Opening windows – Open windows when cooking and in the bathroom to prevent steam build-up
Avoid drying clothes inside – When possible, always dry clothes outdoors as much as possible and avoid over radiators. If drying clothes outside is not an option, encourage your tenants to dry clothing in a well-ventilated room with the door closed.
Furniture position – In a furnished flat, “Feng Shui” the furniture by leaving a space between the furniture and the wall allowing air to easily flow.
Put a lid on it – Cook with pan lids on and turn the heat down once the water starts to boil. Turning on extractor hoods and keeping it on for at least 15 minutes after cooking prevents steam to build-up in the kitchen
Closing doors – After a shower or bath, always keep the door closed for a period of time afterwards. This allows the bathroom to cool naturally and prevent steam spreading to other rooms.
Wipe away excess moisture – After any activity when excessive water is produced, we would recommend wiping down all cool surfaces with a cloth to prevent mould growth forming. Areas to look out for, the kitchen and the bathroom where more.
These are just some changes your tenants can incorporate into their daily life without drastically changing their lifestyle. Simple but effective!.
3. Are your tenants well-informed?
Condensation is now the most common form of damp in a rented property, but are your tenants well informed in how to spot and tackle the early signs of condensation?
Many tenants wait until the signs of mould starting to appear before reporting it to their landlord. However, when your tenants are moving into a property, consider having information packs within the property (similar to a hotel has info packs in its rooms) that help inform the tenant about keeping the property ventilated while also ensuring your tenants are well advised on how to prevent condensation problems arising and the signs to look out for.
If you have installed a dehumidifier or extractor fans in the past, do your tenants know how to use them or know when to report a problem? If you know there are areas in the property prone to dampness or condensation even if you have had the problem treated, make sure your tenants are aware.
We have a free guide on the causes of condensation packed full of handy tips and suggestions suited for tenants and landlords on condensation signs and how to treat against.
4. Treating the signs of condensation before it gets worse
If you are currently renting or managing a property and your tenant reports issues of condensation, make sure as the landlord you respond quickly. If the problems are damp related, ask your tenants to note any issues they are experiencing and visit the property to examine the signs.
Mould growth on walls, behind furniture or in kitchen and bathroom, is a strong indicator of condensation issues but black mould can potentially be a result of other underlying damp problems. Treating black mould by tackling excessive moisture and ventilation issues along with cleaning and disinfecting the mould but the best form of treatment to any property problem is prevention.
Struggling with tackling condensation?
If you need further information or advice on combating condensation, get in touch. Our team is on hand to offer helpful advice and to answer any questions you may have on protecting your property. To get in touch, contact us on 0800 0121 437 or complete our online form to arrange for a member of our team to call you back.