Many, many landlords will be familiar with the scourge that is mould. It is a major source of complaints by tenants and left untreated it can cause health problems, so it is vital that landlords and tenants get to grips with it.
What is mould?
Damp, caused either by rising damp from the failure of a damp proof course or penetrating damp from leaks, can lead to mould growth. Mould can also be caused by condensation of moisture in the air. Condensation can have various causes, both structural and due to the way a tenant uses the property. Condensation can be caused by a tenant failing to ventilate the property properly when cooking or using the shower, or it may come from poor insulation or a faulty heating system.
If there is mould present in a rental property, it can cause health issues such as allergic reactions and asthma attacks. No one wants their tenants to become ill, so it is vital to manage a property correctly to ensure insofar as possible that mould does not become a problem.
What should landlords do to prevent mould?
Periodic property inspection is a key tool in the fight against mould. Spotted early, structural issues which may cause mould such as a broken roof tile, leaking plumbing or blocked guttering can soon be rectified. The sooner damp the is recognised, the less likely mould will become deep seated and difficult to remove.
Inspecting the property will also give the landlord or agent early notice that the tenant is using the property in a way which is likely to cause issues with condensation. When inspecting a property, look out for signs that the tenant is drying clothes indoors, for example. A very cold property when you inspect may be a sign that the property is not being heated correctly, too.
If damp or condensation caused by a structural issue produces mould, it is the Landlord’s legal responsibility to rectify it, under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.
What advice can I give to my tenants about mould?
Tenants should be made aware that the way in which they use the property can have a big impact on its condition, and ultimately on their own health and well being. There are simple steps that any tenant can take to minimise the risk of condensation being caused by the way they are using the property. If they take these steps, then the likelihood of mould forming should be far lower.
We would suggest landlords advise their tenants to take the following steps to combat mould:
– Use lids on saucepans when cooking. This stops the moisture from the steam filling the kitchen and condensing on surfaces and it will also save the tenants money!
– Try to avoid drying clothes inside the house or flat. If it is really necessary for them to do this, then use a clothes airer inside the bathroom and keep the window open and the door shut.
– Always use the extractor fan in the bathroom, if there is one. Keep the bathroom window open and the bathroom door shut when showering and use a bath mat.
– Don’t allow the property to become too cold. Heating should be consistent and regular.
– Don’t put furniture directly next to external walls. This can cause mould to form on the wall behind the furniture.
Always tell your tenants to contact you or the managing agent as soon as they discover mould. If action is taken promptly then the problem can often be rectified before the mould becomes deep-seated. If you are contacted by a tenant regarding mould then it is vital to respond within 14 days and to inspect the property. You should keep full records of all correspondence relating to the property and details of any inspections carried out.
InventoryBase makes this often onerous task simple and straightforward for all involved.