Over a third of renters have experienced issues with damp or mould

Those with damp and mould in their homes are more likely to suffer from respiratory problems, infections, allergies, and asthma. Damp and mould are more likely to affect babies and children and older people and severe cases, such as the tragic and highly publicised case of two-year-old Awaab Ishak, can even cause death.

Related topics:  Landlords,  Property,  Damage,  Tenants,  Damp,  Mould
Property | Reporter
2nd March 2023
Mould 310
"With mould, the situation will be worse if left untreated for a long period of time and can make the property uninhabitable - so getting in touch with your landlord after spotting mould is recommended"

A new survey of 1,001 UK renters by bridging finance broker, Finbri, discovered that 33.73% had experienced issues with damp or mould in their rental properties.

The UK Renters Report 2023 discovered that in addition to the 1 in 3 tenants that have experienced problems with damp or mould, 22% of renters have had excessive delays on maintenance work being completed by a landlord or a letting agent with 21.48% experiencing unresolved maintenance issues.

With 12.89% of UK tenants feeling unable to complain about poor property conditions for fear of eviction and 12.69% afraid complaints could lead to rent increases, it's not just physical health risks damp and mould a third of renters are experiencing, there is the worry that comes from telling a landlord or letting agent about the problem.

Are landlords responsible for sorting issues associated with mould?

A landlord's responsibility for mould and damp depends on several factors, such as whether it's caused by condensation or penetrating damp. If the mould is due to something that can be attributed to a landlord – for example, failing to repair a leaking roof, inadequate ventilation or poor insulation – then they will be liable for sorting it out.

In other circumstances, if the mould is caused by something not related to the landlord – such as a tenant's lifestyle choices or lack of ventilation use (more information can be found at Citizens Advice).

To reduce damp and mould issues in rental properties, landlords should consider taking preventative steps such as ensuring the property has adequate ventilation, implementing regular maintenance checks and providing tenants with information about how to take care of their rental home.

What are the causes of mould?

Mould can be caused by many things, including inadequate ventilation, high humidity levels, and condensation on cold surfaces. Poor insulation is also known to cause damp and mould, as heat escapes through walls or floors and is replaced with cold humid air that creates the ideal conditions for mould growth.

Furthermore, water leaks and poor drainage are other causes of mould, as water seeps into a home and hides in unseen places such as behind walls or under floorboards. All these factors can contribute to the growth of harmful mould spores.

This issue needs to be addressed as soon as possible, as this can cause many health risks such as respiratory illnesses, skin irritations and allergic reactions.

How do I prevent mould in my home?

There are several steps you can take to help prevent mould from growing in your home.

The best way to prevent damp and mould is to ensure the home is well-ventilated and that moisture levels are kept at a minimum. Opening windows, using extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens, and using dehumidifiers or air conditioning can help reduce humidity levels and therefore discourage mould growth.

Here are some steps landlords and tenants alike can take to prevent mould growth in the property:

Provide ventilation, particularly in moisture-prone areas.
Increase heating to raise the temperature of the air and the cold surfaces.
Insulate the building to warm up cold surfaces and keep the heat in.
Close internal doors when you cook or shower
Avoid blocking ventilation - including air vents
Create gaps between furniture and walls
Consistent, low heating to reduce the rapid increase and decrease in temperature.
Prevention techniques: open windows and use mould paint

Alice Redshaw from ICE Cleaning says tenants need to inform their landlords and action needs to be taken quickly if there are signs of mould and if left untreated could be financially damaging to landlords.

Alice adds: "If mould is left to spread, it can be costly to repair. Look out for signs of damage regularly to catch any growth in its early stages.

"With mould, the situation will be worse if left untreated for a long period of time and can make the property uninhabitable - so getting in touch with your landlord after spotting mould is recommended. It's worth bearing this in mind, your landlord will likely be responsive to your concerns as it helps protect their property."

Renters growing frustration

Landlords should be aware that Finbri's survey also discovered that renters are experiencing further issues related to their rental property:

- Problems with damp or mould (33.37%)
- Poor property conditions (24.98%)
- Excessive delays in maintenance repair work being completed (22.08%)
- Unresolved maintenance issues that were reported (21.48%)
- Unaffordable increases in rent (19.38%)
- Being ignored by a landlord or letting agent (18.78%)
- Excessive delays in communication responses from the landlord (15.68%)
- Security deposits not being returned in full (13.79%)
- Unable to complain about poor conditions for fear it might lead to eviction (12.89%)
- Unable to complain about poor conditions for fear it might lead to rent increases (12.69%)
- Threat of eviction (11.59%)
- Security deposits not being returned in part (10.89%)
- Difficulty with tenancy renewal (10.69%)
- Harassment from the landlord or letting agent (8.39%)

Final thoughts

It's clear from Finbri's survey results that there is a great deal of concern among renters in the UK, with a third of renters facing issues with damp or mould in their rental properties, poor conditions or excessive delays in repair work, and further fears over the risk of eviction.

As a landlord, it's important to take proactive measures to prevent damp and mould issues from occurring, such as ensuring the property is well-ventilated and implementing regular maintenance checks. Additionally, it's important to ensure that tenants feel comfortable raising any concerns they may have and to treat all maintenance requests fairly and promptly.

Stephen Clark, from Finbri, comments: “Damp and mould in rental properties are clearly a concern for tenants from a risk to health perspective, but it's also a significant concern for landlords too. Aside from a moral obligation to remedy such issues, a rental property with mould or damp problems will be detrimental to their properties revenue potential and long-term, it risks their asset.”

More like this
Latest from Financial Reporter
Latest from Protection Reporter
to our newsletter

Join a community of over 20,000 landlords and property specialists and keep up-to-date with industry news and upcoming events via our newsletter.