Damp is a common problem for homes in the UK, and it can get worse during autumn and winter, when keeping doors and windows closed to conserve heat also means that properties are less well ventilated. As a landlord, you may see a spike in damp-related problems at this time of year, but whose responsibility is it to fix and what should you do about it?
Types of damp
Damp occurs when moisture gets into the fabric of a property and it can lead to damp walls, peeling paint and even the growth of potentially dangerous mould. There are several different types of damp, and they have different causes. Rising damp, penetrating damp and construction damp are typically caused by problems with the construction or fabric of the building (i.e. moisture getting in from outside), while condensation damp usually has more to do with ventilation and how the property is used (i.e. moisture created inside being unable to escape).
Who is responsible?
If you have damp in your property, it’s important to get an expert in to determine what type of damp it is – this will help you to decide whose responsibility it is to fix. As a general rule, it is up to the landlord to fix a damp problem if it is caused by an issue with a repair, or if it is affecting the tenants’ health and safety. Damp caused by structural problems with the property is the landlord’s responsibility and should be resolved as quickly as possible. Damp caused by condensation could arise from a combination of structural issues (e.g. poor ventilation or heating systems) and tenants’ lifestyle.
When it comes to condensation damp, there are steps that you and your tenants can take to prevent it. For tenants, these include:
- drying clothing outside or in a tumble dryer;
- covering pans when cooking;
- opening windows regularly;
- heating the house properly;
- and closing internal doors when showering.
However, if you still find that you have damp in your property, and your tenants are taking reasonable steps to avoid it, then it may be time for you, the landlord, to make bigger changes to solve the problem. These include fitting ventilation systems such as extractor fans, improving the heating system, and keeping the drains and gutters clear of blockages. Damp is an unpleasant issue that can harm tenants’ health and devalue your property if left untreated, but with the right expert advice and cooperation between tenants and landlords, it can be resolved.
Do you have a property to rent in Bristol? Contact Gough Quarters today to find out how we can help you market and manage your property.
Cover photo by Kelly McCrimmon on Unsplash