Advice on how to prevent damp and mould in your privately rented or owner-occupied home, and how to report it, can be found below.
Do I have condensation problems?
Signs of condensation in your home
- Water trickling down the inside of windows
- Damp patches on the wall especially behind furniture and in corners
- Wallpaper peeling off
- Black dots on window frames
- Mould growth/black mould starting to appear
- Soft furnishings and fabrics become prone to mould or mildew.
- Condensation can be at its worst during colder weather.
What is rising damp?
Rising damp happens when ground water rises up walls via capillaries in the brickwork or other masonry. It can be caused by a breach in the damp proof course, the building having no damp proof course. Homes should be fitted with a damp proof course which prevent rising damp.
Typical signs include:
- Damp patches that start at the base of a wall and gradually move upwards
- Skirting boards or plaster that are damp ore rotting
- Floor coverings such as tiles, vinyl or carpet that are wet or lifting
- Peeling paint or wallpaper lifting from the bottom of the wall
- Yellow or brown tide marks or staining on the wall
What is penetrating damp?
Penetrating damp is when moisture penetrates the inside of a building from the outside. It can commonly be caused by rain leaking in through the brickwork or mortar, by blocked leaking outside pipework such as guttering or even debris piled up against an outside wall of a building, but there can be other causes.
The signs of penetrating damp are similar to rising and condensation.
Typical signs include:
- Staining to external walls
- Damaged decoration, deterioration and staining on internal walls
- Damaged plaster, wet and crumbling, blistering, disintegration
- Rotting floorboards and skirting
- Localised damp patches that grow in size when in contact with moisture
- Mould growth visible and a musty smell
- Drips, puddles, pooled water
- Brick damage, damage to the brickwork can allow moisture in.
What are the health implications?
The NHS website says that damp and mould can exacerbate existing respiratory problems and skin allergies such as eczema.
Some groups of people are particularly vulnerable.
- Babies and children
- Older People
- Those with existing skin problems
- Those with respiratory problems, such as asthma or allergies
- Those with a weakened immune system such as those having chemotherapy
Can damp and mould affect my health? - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
The most common type of damp is condensation caused by everyday activity in the home.
Tips to prevent condensation
- Leave trickle vents (slotted vents in the window or window frames) open when rooms are occupied even in the winter when your heating is on.
- Use kitchen and bathroom extractor fans and/or open a window when cooking and showering – leave them on for a period of time afterwards.
- Keep the doors closed when cooking or showering and bathing; but have a window open to make sure that steam escapes outside and doesn’t circulate around your home.
- Furniture should be kept clear of the external walls to allow better air circulation. If unable to keep well clear, keep at least a small gap between the walls and furniture, particularly against “cold walls” and allow ventilation of any cupboards to keep air flow moving.
- Avoid drying laundry on clothes airers or radiators. If you do need to dry clothes indoors, close the door of the room where the clothes are drying and open the window.
- A dehumidifier in damp rooms works well and can also be used to dry clothes.
- If you use a tumble dryer, make sure that it is vented properly out of a window or through an outside wall.
- Keep the temperature of the house between 18oC and 22oC. Modern heating systems have room thermostats and can be set to come on if the room temperature drops below a set level.
- Avoid using portable gas or paraffin heaters. The fuel that they burn releases water vapour into the air causing it to feel damp and muggy.
- When condensation appears wipe away as soon as possible.
Tips for dealing with mould caused by condensation
- Black mould is most commonly found in rooms where a lot of steam is created such as the bathroom or kitchen.
- Mould caused by condensation can be wiped away using a mould killer spray or bleach.
- You can paint affected walls with anti-mould paint or wallpaper paste after the mould has been wiped away and this can be very effective in stopping it from returning.
If you are a private tenant and have tried all of the above but these measures haven’t worked. You should first contact your landlord as the dampness may be caused by a structural problem in the building.
If your landlord hasn’t remedied the problem or given any indication of when they will look at the problem, you can contact the Council using our online form, giving as much information about the problem as possible and we will take action.
Complain about private rented accommodation
HHSRS (Housing Health and Safety Rating System)
HHSRS was introduced in the 2004 Housing Act and is used by all local authorities to identify hazards in a home. If you contact the council with a complaint about the condition of your home, an inspection will be completed by a Council Officer and any hazards identified will be given a rating according to severity. Action is taken according to severity of the hazard.
Damp and mould survey
We are currently undertaking a survey to see how prevalent damp and mould is in privately rented houses in Charnwood – please could you answer the following questions on damp and mould in your home.
EPC – Energy Performance Certificate
If you’re a landlord or tenant, the home you rent must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) with a maximum rating of E. If you don’t have a copy of your EPC, you can find a copy here.
Find an energy certificate - GOV.UK
If you rent a home and there isn’t an EPC, contact your landlord first they will need to arrange for an EPC to be carried out and issued.
Whilst condensation caused by lifestyle is a common cause of damp and mould, if your tenant has tried all of the above measures and there is no improvement, or has identified some damage to the property, it is likely that there is a structural or maintenance problem in the property which is your responsibility to remedy.
Examples of damp issues which are a landlords responsibility are –
- Rising Damp caused by a damaged or lack of damp proof course
- Leaking pipes
- Leaking guttering
- Damaged brickwork or other damage to the fabric of the building
- Inadequate heating
- Lack of insulation
- Rotten window frames or doors
- Damaged or missing roof tiles
Energy efficiency improvement grants
There are a number of grants and schemes available for qualifying owner-occupiers, private tenants and landlords to help improve insulation and heating in your home. For more information you can visit the Leicestershire County Council website below:
Energy Company Obligation - home energy efficiency | Leicestershire County Council
You can see private sector grants available from Charnwood via the link below:
The Government is currently undertaking consultation on the ECO+ grant which is due to become available in spring 2023. You can find out more information on this below:
Government joins with households to help millions reduce their energy bills - GOV.UK
Last updated: Fri 9th December, 2022 @ 17:09