Many people who rent properties are not aware their house could be at risk of damp. Damp can cause extensive damage to your health as well as your belongings. However, with the proper precautions in place, you can stop this from happening. Getting to the root of the problem is a crucial first step in solving it. Reporting and documenting any evidence you find will also help to prove that there’s an issue with moisture – resulting in quicker repairs from landlords. Here we’ll share a few tips for damp proofing your rented home.
What To Do If You Spot Damp? Who is Responsible?
Some landlords often get away with housing tenants in sub-standard accommodation. Many people are too afraid or feel insecure about complaining, as they fear the risk of eviction, especially in areas where supply greatly outnumbers the demand.
If you live in an older property that hasn’t been properly renovated or properly ventilated, dampness can be a severe issue for your home. It will only get worse as time passes, so it’s essential to manage this now before problems arise from allowing moisture into cracks where mould spores can thrive.
The majority of residential properties in the private rental sector are older properties. Many of them have been subject to damp issues at some point. 43% of homes built before 1919 were constructed with materials prone to deteriorating. 39% more still need mending today due to being over 100 years old.
Mould and dampness go beyond aesthetics and can lead to or exacerbated respiratory problems such as asthma. This is especially true for children. who are most susceptible. It’s important you bring these issues up with your landlord as soon as possible, so they have enough time to fix it before things get serious! Get rid of all those growing colonies within the walls ASAP.
Damp Proofing: What Does the Law Say?
A landlord’s responsibility is to keep their tenants’ homes and properties in good repair. This includes taking the appropriate measures to damp proof your home. The ‘repairing obligations’ set out by Section 11 of the Landlord Tenant Act 1985 require them to maintain structures within the house such as exterior walls. The Homes Act 2018 (Fitness for Human Habitation) in England was passed to reinforce the need for properties that are “fit for human habitation” at both the start and during the tenancy. Landlords are inclined to provide water, heating, gas and electricity too, and take responsibility for solving any damp issues. It is also in their best interests to do so.
Landlords must secure an accurate diagnosis before getting problems fixed. If mould has formed in the property, it could mean that moisture is not able to escape from your house and better ventilation is required.
The Deregulation Act requires landlords to respond in writing, and take necessary steps when tenants complain about dampness or mould on their property. The landlord can easily evade this if you don’t write back within a reasonable amount of time, and are entitled to investigate the problem before fixing anything at all.
How Does it Affect Health?
Respiratory disease affects one in five people and is the third biggest cause of death in England. The (NHS) found that people living in homes with dampness are two times as likely than others to have respiratory health issues. This includes asthma, infection, and allergic rhinitis.
The report from WHO goes into more detail on how this affects your home’s overall structural integrity. As outlined in the report, in Europe, an estimated 10–50% (depending on the country) of the indoor environments where human beings live, work, and play, are damp. Too much moisture makes a home stuffy and gives it a faint odour. Humid walls create a coldness that makes more heating necessary, increases energy bills, and can even affect mental health.
Damp Proofing Your Rented Home
So without a doubt, one of the best ways to prevent damp and mould in a property is by making sure to maintain it. You should ensure your roof and guttering system are up to par and no leakage of rainwater. Drains also need to be cleaned out after any heavy storms or snowfall. However, if, despite your best efforts, damp, condensation, or mould does appear in your rented property, there are many products for damp proofing your home on the market that can help you get rid of it.
The major cause of condensation is when warm moist air condenses on cold surfaces, such as walls and windows. This can lead to water-damaged ceilings and mould growth in damp areas – like kitchens or bathrooms.
No one wants that, so here are some steps you can take to damp proof your rented home:
Temperature Matters the Most
The coldest winter days can often bring about condensation in the form of fog or ice on windows. It is your responsibility as a tenant to ensure that the heating in your home is sufficient – maintaining 18°C or higher. If not, consider installing some insulation according to the British Standard.
Your property must be well ventilated. Opening windows encourages circulation, especially while showering or taking baths to prevent a build-up of steam. If you dry your laundry indoors, try to keep them closer to windows, so moisture can escape. It’s not just about the clothes! When you dry your washing indoors, it can create also lead to mould and mildew on all those wet items. Instead, try drying them out in the open or use an air drier if available.
Keep an Eye on Damp Patches
Check for damp patches and leaks on walls or ceilings. Mould is no fun, and the moisture from your bathroom or kitchen can cause a lot of damage. Choose wall finishes that make problem prevention easier. If wallpaper suits you better than vinyl does, then beware! Splash-proof materials resist staining but eventually can start fading away. Only wipe down protected surfaces when necessary to keep them looking as good as new even after many years pass by.
Get a Humidistat Control Extractor Fan
In order to avoid mould, you could install a humidistat-controlled extractor fan where necessary. A heat recovery unit in any area where high levels of moisture is being generated is also sufficient. You will find it primarily near the kitchen and bathroom. Because these are the well-known locations for excessive steam activity, invest in a good-quality extractor fan. You can’t stop water from entering your home. But you can reduce how much gets inside by creating an adequate venting system. For instance, when we boil water on stovetops there will always be some condensation. These fans come into play by absorbing this moist air, ultimately helping to damp proof your home in the long run.
Damp proofing your home is never fun for any party, so keep your eyes peeled around the house, and get your landlord to fix any leaks in pipes, guttering, downpipes, and roofs as soon as possible. Using a dehumidifier can also help to remove moisture from the air, as well as taking extra measures such as installing an extractor fan.