There is no doubt that at this time of year, black mould is a common problem in both rental and privately owned properties, and a nuisance for homeowners, tenants and landlords alike.
It is a depressing, and a potentially unhealthy problem, but it can be managed effectively 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 to seek possession of their properties.
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 (as many ‘rogue’ landlords do) because the problem will most certainly reoccur, causing damage to the fabric of the building itself, as well as potential harm to the occupants of the property.
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 solution.
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 property and personal security, as well as 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, when extractor fans are insufficient in their capacity to clear humidity, or are simply turned off or blocked.
At the very least, external powered ventilation should be fitted in kitchens and bathrooms, but as moisture spreads to bedrooms and communal hallways, occupants can often find mould spores growing on walls, around windows, behind beds and inside cupboards and wardrobes.
As soon as they appear, we suggest that you 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. Our favourite product for this is HG Mould Spray and be bought in all good retailers.
When cleaning with products such as this, always wear goggles, long rubber gloves, and close doors, open windows and be sure to throw all affected fabrics away, and thoroughly vacuum when finished.
If you are a property owner or landlord, it is also worth investing in a powered ventilation system, that can help reduce overall household humidity, not just in kitchens and bathrooms but throughout the whole property.
Check out these guys for market leading solutions www.envirovent.com but as always, if you have any specific queries, please contact our property team for further information and advice on 01706 828229.