How to Prevent Damp in Your Rented Properties

Now is the time of year when mould, damp and condensation can take over a home if it is not ventilated correctly, especially with the combination of winter weather, tenants drying washing indoors and windows being kept shut.

Many landlords do have maintenance problems related to damp within their rental properties especially at this time of year.  Having damp within a home can really make a dent in a property valuation, hit profit margins and cause no end of misery for landlords and tenants.

Tenants should be living in a ‘good state of repair’ property and landlords have an obligation under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to repair a property if it is damaged. Local council environmental health departments also have statutory responsibilities to investigate matters of poor repairs or conditions, advising landlords on any necessary actions that need to be taken to get the property up to scratch.

If you are a landlord, what can you do to prevent damp related problems at this time or year or any time of year? We’ve gathered some tips on how to avoid damp and mould in your rental properties.

  1. Keep properties in a good state of repair.  If there has been mould on walls, ceilings, cupboards, or any other affected parts of the property, treat, repair or replace it as soon as possible to prevent any spreading or any further damage.
  2. Encourage tenants to keep the property ventilated. Ventilations is key for keeping damp at bay. It can be difficult in the colder weather to fulfil this, but clauses can be placed in a tenancy agreement for tenants to make sure that good ventilation is attempted at all times.
  3. If a ventilation system is fitted, ensure tenants know how to use it properly. Many properties can now come with specialised ventilation systems to prevent damp and mould. Give tenants access to the user manuals or explain how to use it when they start renting with you.
  4. Use specialist mould prevention paints in high condensation areas of the home for example bathrooms and kitchens. They can be more of an expense as an upfront cost, but they can save you time, money and hassle in the future if they prevent mould and damp from developing.
  5. Look at installing or upgrading insulation. This helps keep your home warm and reduces condensation. Especially if the property is an old one, it’s worth looking at the loft insulation and the wall insulation.  42% of heat loss is through the ceiling or roof, and many older homes often don’t have any ceiling insulation. Double glazing can help to combat damp, as can checking that wall insulation goes all the way up to the ceiling or roof joists. 

Following a mixture or all of the above should help to reduce the risk of damp and condensation and the ensuing mould and mildew issues. Investing in the first instance to prevent it will be worth it in the long run.