As the climate changes through late autumn and into the winter, occupants increase their use of heating, while rain increases dampness both inside and outside of properties. Inevitably, this increases condensation which can cause mould problems. The first reaction, for many tenants, is to call their landlord and complain about mould growth. This common difficulty in rented and owned homes, is a problem, as assured shorthold tenancy agreements may not suggest who is responsible to clear the damage; the landlord or the tenant. Obviously, prevention is better than eradicating the problem after it has occurred.
How Is Condensation Caused?
Moist, warm air, that is created in kitchens and bathrooms, and heating systems, passes through to the colder parts of your building. Whether condensation can build, wallpaper may appear discoloured, particularly in areas behind cupboards, where the airflow is limited. The discolouration may be a patch of mould. It will continue to grow if unchecked and may be found on furnishings, carpets, inside wardrobes and quite regularly, in basements.
The risk to humans is high because mould spores travel through the air and can cause damage to an individual’s health. Excessive mould fungi can lead to allergies, asthma, infections and sinusitis. They create irritants and allergens and dangerous toxins.
Who Is Responsible?
Where this is a defect within the rental property, the landlord becomes the responsible person. Although the initial problem may be caused by a problem within the building, the main source of mould growth is caused by the occupants and the way they live within the property, with the initial condensation.
Landlords, agents and renters must be made aware of any potential problems where condensation can lead to the growth of mould. They can take the necessary action to reduce the risks and help further by organising regular inspections of the building to assess for any mould or condensation damage.
Where a property is efficiently maintained, tenants can be advised the way the condensation can be reduced throughout the building. Landlords will suggest that tenants ensure that all rooms are consistently aired to reduce the condensation and any further damage to the property.
What Can Tenants Do?
To keep themselves in good health, tenants can consistently keep windowsills and windows dry, as well as other wet surfaces. Where interior temperatures remain at a consistent level, not too hot when it is cold outside, mould growth is less likely to occur.
Tenants should dry their clothes outside or if a room must be used, then the bathroom is a good choice, keeping the window open for ventilation and the door closed to prevent mixing hot, cold and damp air throughout the property. Using an efficient extractor fan improves the reduction of condensation in the air.
Tumble dryers that are ventilated to the outside are useful, while kitchens can be ventilated by keeping windows open or using extractor fans. It is a good idea for bathrooms and kitchens to be ventilated for around 20 minutes after they have been used.
Some tenants may benefit by installing a dehumidifier taking excessive moisture out of the air, which reduces condensation.