What to tell your tenants about condensation and mould

Mould is often a contentious area between landlord and tenant, however once there is mould in a property, it can be expensive and challenging to resolve.

In many cases, it can be prevented by reducing condensation – so why not work with your tenant and share useful advice to protect your property.   Winter is when risks are typically at their highest, especially over Christmas – the mix of cold weather, extra people and cooking can add to unwanted condensation in your property, as your tenants celebrate Christmas. 

Condensation is caused by steam or water vapour coming into contact with cold surfaces such as walls, ceilings and windows, and if allowed to persist, can result in mould forming on interior surfaces and even on furnishings.  The issue may be exacerbated in new builds.

If your property happens to be a brand new home, some condensation can be the result of evaporation of moisture from building materials, but changes to your tenants’ routine over the Christmas period can also increase levels of moisture in the home.  NHBC, the UK’s leading warranty provider for new homes, is offering all property owners some tips to help reduce condensation this Christmastime:

In the kitchen

Cooking a big Christmas dinner with all the trimmings means your tenant will have lots of pots and pans bubbling away.  Advise them to turn on the extractor fan on and leave the lids on saucepans while cooking, and keep the kitchen door closed to stop steam escaping into other rooms and open a small window.

In living areas

Living areas will become warmer than usual with all the extra people at home, even more so when entertaining. When the warmth from indoors meets the colder external walls and windows, condensation will start to form.  Remind tenants to turn the thermostat down a few degrees and have windows slightly open to allow air to circulate. 

In the bathroom

If your tenants have friends and relatives staying over the festive period the bath and shower will be in use more often.  If you have an extractor fan in the bathroom, remind tenants to turn it on while they shower, or leave a window open to allow steam to escape.  Suggest that they keep the bathroom door shut at all times to stop excess moisture circulating throughout the house.

Doing the laundry

Your tenants will want to keep on top of your laundry so your party outfit and Christmas jumper is always ready to wear.  Suggest that where possible, they avoid drying clothes indoors, especially on radiators, but if you do need to, hang the clothes in one room which is heated and ventilated with the door shut.  If they use a tumble dryer, make sure the venting duct leads outside – unless it is a self-condensing dryer.  If their tumble dryer is the vented type, landlords could consider having one professionally installed -0 the expense is far cheaper than repairing damage due to mould.

Further advice and guidance on how to avoid condensation and prevent its effects, including mould growth, can be found in NHBC’s Guide to your new home, which is available as a free download from www.nhbc.co.uk.

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