Condensation concern raised...

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    Condensation concern raised...

    I've been letting out a property that I lived in myself, from 2000 to 2012, to Tenants since Aug 2013. Everything has been hunky-dory.

    In the time I lived there, I never experienced any form of condensation issue... certainly not mould. However, I have received an email from the Tenants saying that they are having to clean mould on a daily basis and it's becoming a worry for health.

    I was surprised by this and I have written to them advising of well-known tactics for dealing with condensation - adequate heating, adequate ventilation, use of extractor fan, not drying clothes inside on radiators etc..

    The Tenants said that they've bought a dehumidifier but it seems to be having little effect and that they've also spoken to a few people, who recommended the dehumidifier, who said it [condensation / mould] may be unavoidable without double glazing.

    Another surprise as the windows are definitely double-glazed, so very confused by that comment. Also, each window has an air vent at the top and the walls have air bricks - so I cannot see (unless they've closed the window vents) that there is inadequate ventilation. However, I have offered to go around and take a look - I want them to be happy and I want my property to avoid damage.

    A quick question, knowing that we all know about condensation, is whether this winter (which has felt longer and colder, and wetter) could have had a more deleterious effect on properties? I definitely do need to check the window vents aren't closed - but I suspect they would only help a little?

    #2
    Sounds like there could be a leak somewhere? Otherwise sounds like lack of ventilation...

    Comment


      #3
      I doubt there's a leak, but I have offered to go around and take a look at what they're facing.

      I have also re-provided them with the EPC and pointed out that it states the property is fully double glazed, considering they seemed to think it wasn't, for some reason that I can't really fathom at the moment (I mean, you could just eyeball them). And I found an interesting booklet on Sheffield City Council's website that ends with "If the landlord has provided correct levels of insulation, suitable heating and ventilation then it will usually be the responsibility of the tenant to treat for mould."

      https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/in-your...rds/hhsrs.html

      The property has cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, a combination boiler with enough radiators per room, window trickle vents and a couple of air bricks, so I've bounced this back over to the Tenants to consider, for the time being. I've been helpful, but have also pointed out - very politely - that if my property is damaged due to their lifestyle, then their deposit is at risk.

      Comment


        #4
        I would tell them that it is their lifestyle that is causing the problem, and give them a print-out of the causes, and the remedy(have a Google).

        If they insist it is a problem with the property, then I would commission a report from a damp specialist, and tell them that if it is their lifestyle that has caused it, you will re-charge them for the report, and the necessary works to fix the property to it's original state.
        Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

        Comment


          #5
          Yes, thanks. So far I have gone back stating that I believe it is a lifestyle issue, attaching that Council booklet, and asked whether they are doing things like keeping all window vents closed, drying clothes on radiators, not using the kitchen's extractor fan when cooking etc., it's difficult to communicate all this without it sounding too accusatory, but I did my best. I will keep the Damp Specialist Report offer in reserve.

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            #6
            Doublle glazing helps minimise window condensation, not abolish it, esp around the edges
            Check the cavity wall insulation is not blocking some air brcks and large furniture is far enough from wall to allow air to circulate behind
            A specialist damp inspection will cost £500+. Mine concluded that loft, cavity wall Ins, d/glazing throughout and gch are all contributory, mainly from lack of air circulation.
            This winter's weather (high moisture content) has been conducive to condensation. Just check how much moisture condenses on inside of windows on getting in.

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              #7
              Thanks.

              One thing that I had noticed on previous visits was that the Tenants like to keep the property a lot warmer than I ever did... for me it would be uncomfortably warm. I wondered (not trying to grasp at straws, more curious) whether a larger difference in the outside temperature and inside temperature could possibly be why they are seeing this, they say, but I never did... in over a decade.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Hippogriff View Post
                One thing that I had noticed on previous visits was that the Tenants like to keep the property a lot warmer than I ever did...
                Keeping a property very warm often goes hand in hand with not ventilating it enough - otherwise your heating bills go (literally) through the roof and out of the windows...

                I think the plot thickens

                Comment


                  #9
                  Hippogriff,

                  That'll do it. The very warm air can absorb more moisture than cold air, and deposit it anywhere that is slightly colder. I have this problem with my tenants from hot countries.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Very helpful.

                    More info. back...

                    The Tenant didn't actually think the windows weren't double-glazed, but was trying to say someone had advised this issue might be more prevalent with wooden framed windows, as opposed to uPVC, which these are. Anyway, they are going to deliberately introduce more ventilation, by leaving one or two windows ajar, and monitor the situation. They did say that they dry clothes in the property and sometimes use the radiators - without a tumble dryer (no space for one) they consider this unavoidable in the current weather. They'll also have a read of the Council pamphlet I forwarded on to them. I read that diluted bleach is excellent at killing mould, but could damage paint - so I've given them the green light to try this on the inside window frame (the place where they say it is - not on the walls or anything like that) - I'd rather have to do some repainting than have mould.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Hippogriff View Post
                      They did say that they dry clothes in the property and sometimes use the radiators
                      To be honest I think the "drying clothes in the property" is a bit of a red herring. I do this myself and have done so for decades and have never experienced mould in none of the many properties I lived in. After you have washed your clothes in a washing machine they would normally not be soaking wet so they would not introduce a sufficient amount of additional moisture into the air.

                      How "drying clothes on the radiators" should be any different to this I can't get my head around, so I would similarly say this is a red herring.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I'm no expert, but anything you read on this topic mentions this - a quick Google and you reach Medway Council's advice, which says "Avoid drying damp clothes on radiators". Obviously just one example... Ealing Council says "Do not dry wet clothes on the radiators". Maybe it's a sacred cow... but, as advice goes, I will pass it onto my Tenants so they are aware of it, as advice, and the fact that we're both aware that it hasn't been that way, to date. For now, I'm happy for them to try and provide more ventilation and monitor.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Hippogriff View Post
                          The Tenant didn't actually think the windows weren't double-glazed, but was trying to say someone had advised this issue might be more prevalent with wooden framed windows, as opposed to uPVC, which these are.
                          Actually, I would go as far as saying that modern double glazing is (indirectly) a cause of mould/condensation problems in properties, simply because usually they form a completely air-tight seal against the frame, whereas typically old wooden windows have a bit of slop in them and gaps around the edges where air gets in, thereby contributing to ventilation of the property.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Yeah but this is a little rubbish because in many other countries in the world you had properly insulated properties (incl. double glazing) for decades and people there still managed to not turn their places into mould heavens. Just because insulation is a relatively "new trend" in this country doesn't mean it is a cause for condensation or mould.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Well, I review this thread with some great interest..!!

                              Is the tenant employed.?

                              Comment

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