Damp & Mould

There are various causes of damp in a student house. Probably the most common is condensation.

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Condensation

Condensation occurs when water vapour in the air hits a cold surface (usually a window / window frame but sometimes surrounding walls), cools and turns to liquid. Therefore it is often the result of a combination of lack of heat (common in the winter months) and lack of ventilation. It’s most common in bathrooms and kitchens due to the amount of steam in these rooms however can occur in bedrooms & other rooms where you spend a lot of time as well.

 


Example of condensation on a bedroom window in the morning

 

Condensation is normal however needs to be managed to stop it getting out of control & leading to mould growth. Usually it can be managed by you (the tenant) by following these tips:

  • Ventilate the room by regularly opening the window. A few centimetres so can be enough and, if you’re concerned about security, most UPVC windows have a ‘vent’ setting, whereby if you open it about half an inch and turn the handle it locks in place whilst allowing air to pass through.
  • Pull furniture / belongings away from the walls slightly so that air can circulate around them.
  • Make use of extractor fans.
  • Use pan lids when cooking to reduce the amount of steam escaping.
  • Keep the property sufficiently heated. Closing curtains at night and pulling furniture etc away from radiators can help with this.
  • Avoid drying clothes on radiators – or if you do, ventilate the room thoroughly.
  • Wipe away any condensation (e.g. around the edge of windows) using a cloth & ring it out in the sink.
  • If you notice mould spores starting to form, wipe them away ASAP using a damp cloth & mild detergent.
  • If the above tips aren’t working or if the room doesn’t have sufficient facilities for heating or ventilation, contact your landlord or SU Advice team.

 

Other causes

Sometimes damp can be caused by structural damage or other problems with the building itself resulting in water seeping in through the roof or walls from outside. This is often characterised by random patches of damp / discolourarion on the interior of an outside wall or roof, often after rain. If this appears to be the case, contact your landlord ASAP.

 

Tenant’s responsibilities

As the tenant you are responsible for taking reasonable steps to manage condensation and stop the build-up of mould, e.g. by following the above advice. You are also responsible for reporting any issues such as leaks or damp / mould that you can’t control to your landlord ASAP.

 

Landlord’s responsibilities

The Housing Act 2004 requires the landlord to ensure that the property meets appropriate standards to allow the tenant to stop / sufficiently manage damp – for example they need to ensure that rooms are capable of being sufficiently heated and have adequate means of ventilation e.g. openable window and / or extractor fan.

The Landlord & Tenant Act requires the landlord to maintain the exterior structure of the property, meaning they have to repair defects in the roof or walls that are causing water to seep through, and do so in a reasonably timely manner. NB they are usually only required to do this from the point that you notify them of the defect, so make sure you report any problems to them and do this in writing (e.g. e-mail) if possible.

 

Problems

If you are encountering problems that you don’t feel your landlord is acting upon adequately, contact Student Welfare for help or advice.

 

More information

For more information visit the Leeds City Council website or contact Student Welfare.

 

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