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Option Homes Ltd - News- Condensation: the facts that landlords and tenants need to know!

Condensation: the facts that landlords and tenants need to know!

Date Added 17/11/2015

One of the most common complaints we receive from tenants in the properties we manage is condensation – and often the mould that goes along with it.
It`s something we take very seriously, as the health hazards that these can cause are potentially very severe - especially for those already prone to asthma, allergies, eczema, a poor immune system or a wide range of breathing problems.

Our landlords are also concerned to hear if their properties are suffering from condensation and mould - especially as it it can cause damage to the structure of a building as well as ruin decorated surfaces.

It`s one of the reasons why we carry out three-month checks on all of our properties – to make sure potential problems like this are dealt with speedily.

So whose fault is it? And who should be putting it right?

In fact, nine times out of ten, when we look at the problem close up, we find that the issue is caused by tenant themselves – often without realising it. And the good news is, it and can easily be remedied with a few changes in lifestyle.

Yes, there will be occasions where rising damp, blocked gutters or poor ventilation are to blame and need addressing, or poorly insulated walls, badly sealed window frames or cracked tiles. That`s down to the landlord, and we will arrange to get them fixed.

But the simple facts are these: just living in a property, we humans release a massive amount of water into the atmosphere: each of us generates around two litres each a day if you include cooking, showers and just the very act of breathing. But the single biggest (and most readily fixed cause) is drying clothes – often over radiators.

Releasing all this moisture into the property would not matter if the windows and doors are open – releasing it into the atmosphere. But in winter windows are often kept shut to keep in the warmth, and when all that moisture hits a cold surface (such as a window or exterior wall) it hits dew point and condenses. Mould thrives on that sort of environment and can be very tricky to eradicate.

Remember too that moisture in the air will remain there until it finds somewhere cool and unventilated where it can condense: and that might just be the wardrobe containing your favourite clothes…

So what can you do about it?

The solution? Having proper ventilation to take away moisture produced in the kitchen and bathroom is key, and we will always advise our landlords to ensure that this is adequately provided.

And from a tenant`s perspective, making sure the property is aired regularly and that they avoid drying clothes over radiators.

One relatively straightforward compromise is to start the drying process in the bathroom with a window left open and the door kept shut.

Quarterly property inspections are a vital tool to spot and head these sorts of problems off at the pass. And we will always work hard to make sure that remedies are put in place: from a landlord`s perspective, they will (or should!) want to fix any building problem that could reduce the value of their investment.

And for a tenant, the prospect of paying for remedial decorative work at the end of their tenancy is usually enough to encourage them to make a few lifestyle changes – such as keeping a window open when they cook or drying their clothes at the local launderette.

A dehumidifier can also make a big difference – and the cost of running one will almost certainly be less than letting expensive heat disappear through the window.

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