Condensation is a common problem within the private rented sector and many landlords receive phone calls from tenants complaining about it.
Recent surveys suggest that more than a third of all households (37%) report they have condensation issues.
You can sell your property in any condition to LandlordBuyer
Condensation dampness generally happens when a property can't deal with normal levels of water vapour because of a lack of insulation, ventilation or heating, or a combination of all of these things. The excess moisture settles on cold surfaces.
Most of us create at least 4 pints of moisture per day just by breathing, cooking, bathing, washing and drying clothes, normal everyday activities that everyone performs at home.
Condensation dampness can occur anywhere on a wall. It may form at the base of wall, or from top to bottom. It can result in mould growth, damage to furniture and belongings and in some cases mite infestation. Very often tenants will complain of their clothes being ruined by condensation and damp.
There are other types of dampness as well as condensation dampness. These include rising damp, penetrating damp and construction damp.
Reasonable ventilation is needed in all homes - old or new - to get rid of moisture and if the property is correctly ventilated, there is little chance of the problem occurring.
In many cases, condensation will be down to the tenant’s lifestyle. This could involve putting damp clothes on radiators to dry, or not opening windows, or building up steam in a bathroom without opening a window or using an extractor fan.
Use of portable gas or paraffin heaters, using a tumble dryer with no outside vent – unless a tumble dryer is a self-condensing type, it should be vented to the outside
blocking ventilation – for example, or covering air vents, closing ventilators and switching off or disabling fans can all cause or exacerbate the problem.
Additionally, if the humidity level in the property is at 80% or above for 6 hours or longer over a prolonged period of time, then mould can occur which can be very damaging to health, especially in regards to children and the elderly. High internal relative humidity in a property is the result of poor ventilation.
In HMOs (houses of multiple occupation), where a property may be inhabited by a large number of sharers, condensation issues can be even more common for obvious reasons.
Landlords have a responsibility under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to assess hazards and risks within their rental properties. Local authorities are under a duty to take action against category 1 hazards. Hazards in Group A, are classed category 1 which include Damp and Mould Growth hence why you need to take seriously any complaints you receive from tenants. The fines can be quite significant, so it’s important to treat this matter promptly and seriously.
When condensation and/or mould is reported, the first thing the landlord should do is educate the tenant about such issues as leaving a window open, not drying clothes on radiators, making sure ventilation bricks/grilles are not blocked or covered over, and ensuring that mechanical ventilation fans in bathrooms are switched on and the extractor fan used when cooking on the hob.
Tenants should also be advised to ensure that the property is properly heated, and that all rooms are heated to an ambient temperature. Sometimes, tenants try to save on their heating bills by only heating one room, and this will cause condensation to appear in the non-heated rooms.
Sell your house with sitting tenants
If the problem persists, then the landlord will need to consider a more permanent solution such as Positive Input Ventilation Unit to air the property and allow condensation to escape.
It may also be necessary to replace or upgrade the central heating system, and/or replace the windows so that the property is sealed correctly.
If mould develops, the landlord needs to act quickly to get it removed and remedies include anti-fungal sprays and washes. Tenants affected clothes and belongings may need to be washed or dry cleaned and the landlord may be required to cover the cost of this if the problem has not been caused by the tenant, but by the building itself.
Our Director, Jason Harris Cohen of LandlordBuyer, has recorded a video on this topic:
For some landlords approaching the end of their landlord career, it may simply not be cost-effective to up-grade their properties, and they may not be able to afford additional expense of remedies.
There is also the looming threat of the Energy Efficiency Act which states that landlords must not let out properties with the two lowest energy efficiency ratings, F and G, after April 2018 at the latest.
According to the English Housing Survey, 11.4% of homes in the private rented sector were rated F or G in 2011. We have heard figures as high as 35% of PRS properties will not comply and this means landlords will have to up-grade their properties in order to make them legal to let after April 2018.
For some landlords, they might not have the funds to do this, and therefore decide to sell the property.
It is traditionally very challenging to sell a property with mould and or damp. It’s an instant turn off for most buyers, and the property will smell musty, which will be picked up by prospective buyers during viewings.
In these cases, LandlordBuyer could offer a quick, no hassle solution.
We buy tenanted or empty property in any condition with mould and damp problems. There is nothing we haven’t seen in this regards and we are not phased by anything!
We will give you a cash offer for your property within 48 hours. There are no viewings, no estate agent fees, no hassle and no need to spend money to upgrade your property to get it in a “sell-able” condition. We will purchase it as seen, with our without a tenant in situ.