Few things inspire as much disgust as a bad case of mould. You wouldn’t market a home covered in its characteristic dark blooms, but the reality is that many tenants, landlords and even owner-occupiers live with this problem.
In fact, mould is the number one cause of tenant–landlord disputes, according to a leading property agency
As winter takes hold, problems with mould and mildew only get worse, with many people turning to tenancy deposit schemes to resolve disputes about damage to property and personal belongings.
Luckily, though, there are a number of techniques that can be used to reduce the growth of mould spores in your home. Take a look at some of our top tips below to help keep your property dry and damp-free this winter!
1) Don’t dry clothes on radiators: It’s a very common practice, but it’s one that leads to damp entering the atmosphere and condensing on the walls. You could use an airing cupboard instead, or landlords might think about investing in a tumble dryer for their tenants.
2) Improve ventilation: One of the reasons why a property becomes damp is that condensation builds up on windows, where the cold air from outside meets the heated interior. Opening windows for short periods can help, as can adding extractor fans in areas of high humidity, like kitchens and bathrooms.
3) Wipe up water spills when they happen: Does the floor get wet after you use the bath or shower? Mop it up. Did the washing-up water spill out of the sink? Wipe it down. Has water leaked in through gaps in windows? Dry it up, and consider having the windows resealed. All that excess water has to go somewhere, and it frequently contributes to mould growth.
4) Consider drainage issues: Take a look outside. When it rains, does water tend to pool around your property? Are the drains working effectively to take it away? If not, you may need to look at ways to improve how water is diverted away from your home to stop basements and ground floors becoming damp
5) Monitor humidity levels: The humidity of your home should be between 30% and 60%, and you can check this with devices available from hardware stores. If you find that your property is either too humid or not humid enough, you can invest in either a dehumidifier or even a humidifier to help with the problem (low humidity, like high humidity, can exacerbate breathing-related problems like asthma).
What is important to remember is that mould is not always a landlord’s fault; it can be down to the tenant not ventilating the building properly or not managing water ingress correctly. At the same time, it’s a landlord’s responsibility to make sure that things like leaks, drainage problems and failed seals are all repaired to prevent tenants from being exposed to mould and damp.