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Mould – the enemy of both tenants & landlords…

27th February 2017 Simon Holland

There is no doubt that at this time of year, black mould is a common problem in both rental and private properties, and a nuisance for both tenants and landlords alike.

It is a depressing, and a potentially unhealthy problem, but it can be managed whilst tenants are in situ, without the need for them to vacate the property whilst the issues are treated.

One of our biggest complaints from tenants at this time of year is ‘damp’, when they often mean mould, and there are implications for landlords if they put their complaint in writing to the local council, most noticeably the restrictions on issuing a Section 21 notice.

However, damp and mould is so commonplace, that landlords must take corrective action as soon as possible, and it is not enough to simply redecorate and spray affected areas, because the problem will most certainly reoccur, causing damage to the fabric of the building itself, as well as harm to the occupants.

Usually, these issues occur where there is inadequate ventilation in the home, and many landlords blame the tenants ‘lifestyle’. Letting agents and landlords simply tell their tenants to ‘open their windows’, but this isn’t always the only answer.

The very young need warmth and opening windows in the winter months can lead to other health issues, as well as noise pollution, not to mention risks to security and adverse effects on energy efficiency.

Studies show over a fifth of the UK’s householders report problems with mould, and the issue is worse in winter months, due to increased humidity inside the home, and more cold surfaces on which condensation can form.

It is often most noticeable in kitchens and bathrooms, or behind beds and wardrobes in bedrooms and particularly in flats with no bathroom window, and when extractor fans or turned off or blocked.

At the very least, ventilation should be fitted in kitchens and bathrooms, but as moisture spreads to bedrooms, occupants can often find mould spores growing on walls, around windows and in cupboards and wardrobes.

You can clean the affected areas with hot water and a mild detergent, taking care not to scrub, just wipe to reduce the risks of mould spores spreading. When cleaning, wear goggles, long rubber gloves, and close doors, open windows and be sure to throw all affected fabrics away, and thoroughly vacuum when finished.

It is also worth investing in a ventilation system, that can help reduce overall household humidity, not just in kitchens and bathrooms but throughout the whole property.