Controlling damp in a buy to let home

Problems with condensation dampen the relationship between many private landlords and tenants who row over who is to blame for mould on the walls.

Landlords often take the view tenants are at fault – because the rented home had no damp or mould before the tenant moved in, while tenants accuse landlords of letting poorly maintained homes.

More often than not the problem is more to do with ventilation than venting feelings.

Many tenants do not switch on extractor fans or ventilate rooms properly when taking a shower, cooking or drying washing.

Warm steam becomes condensation when settling on cold walls and windows – and left untreated, condensation can quickly trigger damp patches and mould.

This is OK until the end of the tenancy, when the landlord holds on to some or all of the deposit to repair the damage.

The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) suggests landlords should tell tenants about avoiding condensation problems and point their deposits are at risk if damp damages the property.

The AIIC has checklist for tenants to help to keep their homes dry and their deposits intact:

  • Keep windows and walls inside the home dry
  • Hang washing out to dry – if this is not possible, hang the washing in a ventilated bathroom rather than in a bedroom or living room.
  • Switch on extractors to clear condensation and tell the landlord straight away should the fans stop working
  • Buy a portable dehumidifier to keep rooms free from condensation and make sure the machine is on if washing is drying inside
  • Open windows in bathrooms and kitchens to clear steam
  • Ventilate tumble driers so moisture is pumped out of a window instead of around the home
  • Keep your home warm all year round – just enough heat to take the chill off is fine

AIIC chair Pat Barber said: “Landlords and agents need to be aware of the potential problems which damp, excessive condensation and mould growth can cause and should take steps to minimise the risks.”

“It is unlikely that rented accommodation can be completely condensation free, even a new home. However by keeping the property properly maintained and thinking about occupiers lifestyles, landlords and agents should be able to control it to acceptable levels.”

The National Landlords Association has also produced a video about controlling condensation and damp


About Editor

Feel free to send comments or requests for content to the Landlord Syndicate editorial team

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply