How to Manage the problem of condensation - Damp/Mould

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    How to Manage the problem of condensation - Damp/Mould

    Hi My first post. Please be gentle.

    For the last 18 months I manage a few maintenance surveyors. Last winter I discovered that there was a significant problem with damp in our properties associated with condensation.

    I spent a great deal of time not only dealing with complaints but also investigating the underlying causes. Although I found it fascinating, I also found the matter very complex.

    This isn't simply a matter of whether damp/Mould is the Landlords or the tenants responsibility. It depends on the circumstances.

    My understanding is that the landlord has a responsibility to ensure that a property is in a decent condition.

    However, the tenant has also a responsibility to use the property in a reasonable way.

    I discovered that our surveyors often found themselves in conflict with tenants over who is responsible. It has been very difficult to come to a suitable resolution.

    We provide advice to tenants on what they can do to minimise the risk and we have also agreed to provide mechanical solutions for serious cases (e.g. PIV's). All this after we have ensured there are no other structural reasons for the damp.

    However, it is still a problem.

    My question is how do other landlords deal with this problem?

    Thanks in anticipation

    Kevinbr

    #2
    FWIW, I can vouch for PIV with very positive tenant response.

    Sometimes it is worth the relatively small investment to protect ones property - even if you shouldn't 'have' to.

    Comment


      #3
      For those that don't know, and I didn't


      P.I.V. is Positive Input Ventilation

      Where air is drawn in from the loft ( which can be warm ) and feeds
      air into the home. Air will aways escape from rooms under doors,
      air bricks, etc.
      Air can also be drawn into house from outside.

      Electric consumption, about 20p per week.

      R.a.M.

      Comment


        #4
        Condensation occurs in certain circumstances. If these circumstances arise then there is condensation.

        It is, in the vast majority of cases, simply ressolved. The problem is getting the parties involved to accept that they have an impact on it and for them to change their actions. There is only so much a 'building' can do to avoid it. To avoid condensation a property needs to be insulated, heated and ventilated.

        In an ideal world a building would be highly insulated, cheap to heat and have continuous heat recovery ventilation. This would reduce the chance of condensation to a very few and far between.

        In reality though most this can't be applied to most buildings due to the nature of their existing construction, the costs involved and the down time that the property isn't rented out (although this is part of the 'costs').

        I can believe without question that your surveyors have had problems with tenants. MTG has on numerous occasions linked to a very useful guide prepared by the government for tenants/home owners on damp and condesation. Unfortunately, I don't know the link.

        My OH has a property that suffered terribly from condensation. It was caused purely by the tenants refusal to heat or ventilate the property. After a couple of years of repeated statements between the parties one of them started to work from home a few days a week. This led to the property being adequately heated and they stopped isolating the extractor fans (bath and kitchen). Hey presto within a week the issue was ressolved.

        Personally, I'm an advocate for constant heat recovery ventilation. Through the wall units to replace extractor fans are available for not huge sums of money. Indeed, larger units able to serve an entire house are now coming down in price. If sized correctly, you can do away with trickle vents, extractor fans and cooker hoods (yes this is acceptable under the Building Regulations).
        There is always scope for misinterpretation.

        If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

        Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by mk1fan View Post
          Personally, I'm an advocate for constant heat recovery ventilation. Through the wall units to replace extractor fans are available for not huge sums of money. Indeed, larger units able to serve an entire house are now coming down in price. If sized correctly, you can do away with trickle vents, extractor fans and cooker hoods (yes this is acceptable under the Building Regulations).
          Thanks for the comments. I too think that PIV's are a good solution. However, I am finding that some colleagues disagree on the basis that they think the landlord should not have to pay tax payers money for something which is (in their opinion) is the tenant’s responsibility.

          I would also be interested to know what landlords have done to educate/communicate the problem with condensation to their tenants.

          Thanks again

          Kevinbr

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by kevinbr View Post
            I would also be interested to know what landlords have done to educate/communicate the problem with condensation to their tenants
            I find this leaflet useful http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/utiliti...m?mediaid=5420

            Comment


              #7
              I have a HMO. Some of the tenants open the windows and let the damp air out and some don't. The upstairs bedrooms have the problem. The roof curves down and so the ceilings curve down and it is this section that is cold that causes the problem. The tenants like to dry their clothes over the rads adding to the problems. When I see mould developing I point it out to them and that they need to let the damp air out. It is in the TA that they are responsible for the formation of mildew. However, in reality, I bleach the affected area and paint it with anti-mould paint.This seems to do the trick.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by kevinbr View Post
                Hi My first post. Please be gentle.

                For the last 18 months I manage a few maintenance surveyors. Last winter I discovered that there was a significant problem with damp in our properties associated with condensation.

                I spent a great deal of time not only dealing with complaints but also investigating the underlying causes. Although I found it fascinating, I also found the matter very complex.

                This isn't simply a matter of whether damp/Mould is the Landlords or the tenants responsibility. It depends on the circumstances.

                My understanding is that the landlord has a responsibility to ensure that a property is in a decent condition.

                However, the tenant has also a responsibility to use the property in a reasonable way.

                I discovered that our surveyors often found themselves in conflict with tenants over who is responsible. It has been very difficult to come to a suitable resolution.

                We provide advice to tenants on what they can do to minimise the risk and we have also agreed to provide mechanical solutions for serious cases (e.g. PIV's). All this after we have ensured there are no other structural reasons for the damp.

                However, it is still a problem.

                My question is how do other landlords deal with this problem?

                Thanks in anticipation

                Kevinbr
                I do the following:

                1.) Fit humidistat extractor fans to bathrooms and make sure they can't be switched off.
                2.) Confiscate trickle vent shutters
                3.) Provide condenser washer dryer

                Comment


                  #9
                  I was given the same advice for my PIV, so the switch is next to it in the loft!

                  My tenant has some sort of allergy to the 'rockwool' type insulation up there. Oops.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by bandontherun
                    There is a problem with the advice in 1 above. It is a legal requirement that these things can be isolated and switched off. Ive asked my sparks to install them so that they cant be switched off and he says that he cant at the moment as the installation would be non compliant. But he says that in a few months time the rules are changing so that a key operated switch will be lawful..
                    I tend to use FCUs rather than switches so it is slightly more difficult, and can still be switched off by fuse removal.

                    Also in a bathroom, the off-switch can be *very* high on the wall :-).

                    ML
                    Refer Mad Regulators to Arkell vs Pressdram.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by kevinbr View Post

                      My question is how do other landlords deal with this problem?

                      Thanks in anticipation

                      Kevinbr
                      Three issues:

                      1 - Dealing with your surveyors.

                      That sounds like an organisation where the staff haven't internalised that they are 90% of the running cost (?)

                      Have you tried a cost/benefit analysis?

                      For the £300 cost of a PIV to fix the problem you get about 4 hours of surveyor time arguing about it, resulting in the problem still existing and T being annoyed. Then another 4hrs with the next T, and the next T...

                      It looks to me that you may be being over thorough with 'structural' checks before talking to T (?) Is it cost effective that way?

                      2 - L/T responsibilities

                      I agree with all your analysis; it is complex, and imo this is the most important L/T dispute since energy efficiency has become God and Deposit Protection came in.

                      3 - Solving it

                      As private LLs we can perhaps be a bit more tactical :-), as has been indicated.

                      I can see some lobby group or other going to town if you start removing shutters from trickle vents.

                      My favourite recent 'default ventilation' tactic was in a beautiful studio bungalow with 13ft cathedral ceilings and Velux windows in most of these, which has been insulated to death, dg, ufh etc and is very warm and cheap to heat.

                      When the refurb was done we simply left one Velux window per room in their "ventilation crack" position, and no T (until yesterday) has ever asked for a window pole.

                      I think that we need to set up environments where Ts are unlikely to cause condensation, rather than having add on solutions and expensive education. Design it out.

                      eg

                      Provide washing line.
                      Perhaps provide over bath clothes horse.
                      Prevent washing on radiators by mounting close to wall, and using over-shelves, and provide a pulley in a ventilated, utility room (or bathroom) with plenty of workspace, and an ironing board spot too.
                      Keep washer, dryer etc in the same utility.
                      Condenser dryers as condition of the Agreement - if you furnish provide a good one of these.
                      Forced ventilation etc.

                      ML

                      PS Are you a corporate LL with washing lines banned? Unban them if so ;-).
                      Refer Mad Regulators to Arkell vs Pressdram.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Used PiV and Eco dmev fan that is a constant runner and works a treat!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          agree with mk1fan
                          I have fitted Vent axia Hr100W or HR30W in about 6 of my properties and in all cases it has cured the problem (admitedly, in some cases Ive also repapered with thermal lining paper).
                          I am a convert.
                          Its not worth the hassle of arguing the toss over whose responsibility it is unless you have a totally irresponsible tenant in place.

                          Comment

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