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Forum Spotlight-dealing with damp

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

A landlord posted on our Forum this week, concerned about damp in one of their properties. The damp had led to mould growing in the property, and complaints from tenants.

The landlord had already given the tenants a moisture eliminator for every room, which are in working order. The landlord has already given the tenants advice on lifestyle changes they can make to try to reduce the issue. This included opening windows, not drying washing inside-however the problem still exists.

The landlord wanted to get advice from other landlords on our Forum about what he could do next. Specifically, he wanted to know whether installing extractor fans in the bathroom and kitchen would be worth doing.

The response from our Landlord Advice Team

Our advice team responded to this landlord’s query with a number of suggestions.

The advisor began by suggesting that this landlord needs to take further measure to try to eliminate the problem from the property.

The advisor first suggested that they employ a damp specialist in order to review the problem. The damp specialist will be able to tell the landlord exactly which type of fan they need, and where in the property would be best to install it, in order to remedy the issue.

For example, extractor fans are often useful in tackling the issue of damp or condensation issues. Automated or temperature sensitive fans which the tenants can’t turn off, can also be useful.

If the damp specialist finds that the damp is likely a problem caused by the tenants lifestyle, and they are willing to put this in writing, then if the issue continues to arise there is potential for the landlord to bill the tenants the cost of taking further action in the future. This is not necessarily something the landlord has to do and they will always face the cost at first instance but it keeps your options open.

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About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.


  • For any landlords that don’t know their way around the building trade there are three types of damp.

    Rising (ground floor and not going above about 1m high)

    From rainfall that then finds a way into the property via the back of gutters that are filled with muck/leaves etc, problems in the roof, pointing on the exterior wall (basically from outside and can be identified by bubbling paintwork and plaster)


    In the huge majority of cases, it is from condensation and in the huge majority of these cases it is caused by the lifestyle of the tenants. If the bathroom doesn’t have a window then a fan with ducting to the roof or to the external wall is a good idea. Almost anything else with condensation can be fixed with ventilation. Landlords often feel the need to go to great expense to compensate for the lifestyles of the tenants who don’t understand about the movement of moisture laden air from somewhere warm (bathroom after a shower/ any room with washing drying on the radiators) to somewhere cold (the inside of a wardrobe next to an external wall/ windows/ the external wall itself). Once the moisture is dumped on the cold surface it attracts mildew. Once the mildew is established it will spread even if the surface isn’t really wet anymore, so it needs killing off with a mold/mildew cleaner.

    Over the years I’ve been told there’s something wrong with 150 year old walls/ this house needs knocking down and rebuilding etc etc. Often the common factors are young tenants with young children and the reluctance to ventilate the property. The first thing any landlord should do once they’ve established the problem is condensation is assess how the tenants are living and diplomatically advise them how to deal with the damp.

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