During the colder winter months, the risk of damp and mould damage in your properties increases. Property mould is often disputed between tenants and landlords, with building structure and tenant lifestyle both contributing to dampness. To protect your properties over winter, both you and your tenants should work together to put preventative measures in place.
Mould inside your property can cause structural issues, dry rot and leaks, which can all escalate into more significant damage to the property. Additionally, the presence of mould can have a big impact on your tenant’s health, with mould causing colds, allergies and worsening existing health issues such as asthma.
How can you prevent mould in your properties?
Working with your tenants is key to making sure you protect your home over winter. Below is some information you can communicate with your tenants to work together to keep your properties in good condition during the colder months.
1. Keep the property at a reasonable temperature
During the energy crisis, it is likely that your tenants are working hard to reduce their energy and water bills. A likely consequence of this is a colder home which will be more prone to growing mould.
Properly informing your tenants of these risks and how they can be cost-efficient can help you to work together to prevent mould during the colder months. Make sure your tenants understand the connection between mould and house temperature and advise them of cost-efficient ways to keep their house warm. Such as maintaining a consistent minimum temperature in the home, having the heating on for just one hour per day, or making the most of off-peak times where energy is cheaper.
2. Wipe down new cases of mould immediately to prevent growth.
Inform your tenants that mould should be wiped away with mould remover spray and the area vacuumed and dried as soon as mould has been noticed in the building.
3. Be conscious when drying clothes.
Many of your tenants will use a drying rack to dry their clothes, especially if they are avoiding using a tumble dryer to save energy. However, in an already cold home, the moisture will stay in the air for a longer period of time and build up on surfaces, leading to household damp and mould.
Advise your tenants to dry their clothes in a well-ventilated room (or preferably outside when possible) and avoid constantly having wet clothing inside the house.
4. Check ventilation
Make sure that ventilation vents are not covered by furniture and extractor fans are used in rooms where there are no windows. Encourage tenants to open windows in bathrooms for a short period to avoid a build up of moisture.
5. Cook considerately
When cooking, boiling pans, frying and using ovens, these can all contribute to additional condensation and heat build-up.
If your kitchen has windows, open them while cooking. This increases ventilation and will help regulate the temperature. Keeping a window open, even just a small amount, will help massively reduce trapped steam and condensation.
If you haven’t got access to windows in your kitchen, using your extraction hood when cooking will help to take smells out and reduce condensation.
6. Clean gutters
At this time of year gutters can easily get clogged with falling leaves and debris from trees as well as moss from the rood. Overflowing gutters can damage walls and create damp issues inside the property. Make sure to clean out gutters to prevent any issues down the line that could be more costly
It is important not to ignore mould, condensation and damp issues within a property. They often start off small but can grow at a frightening rate.Many modern properties are so well insulated that it is difficult to stop condensation from building up so it is important that your tenant is aware of the need to ventilate the property even when it is cold outside
Provide advice to your tenant on managing condensation in the home, look for ways you can make things better rather than becoming involved in a blame game with them.
Be vigilant when carrying out property inspections, minor patches of mould in bedrooms are a sign or worse things to come. Act quickly to investigate if a tenant reports, damp, condensation or mould in the property and where necessary ensure repairs are made.
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