Many properties, in particular older houses, experience cases of damp, meaning it should be a problem that all landlords are prepared to encounter. Damp can be unsightly, unsettling and unhygienic and should be dealt with quickly to remove the problem. Damp can also be an indication of larger-scale structural problems and so it is important that landlords are aware of any cases of damp within the property.
There are multiple causes of damp, they include;
- Faulty plumbing
- Poor ventilation
- Structural deficits
The factor of each cause is excess moisture in the building. In order to avoid damp, moisture in the air needs to be able to escape the property so that condensation cannot build up.
Poor ventilation is one of the most common causes and can usually be easily rectified. Tenants should ensure that they sufficiently air rooms especially bathrooms, kitchens and utility rooms where there is most likely to be a build-up of moisture thanks to washing machines, showers and cookers.
Damp caused by faulty plumbing means that either water is not draining away from the walls of the house properly or that a pipe is leaking water. Damp caused by plumbing problems usually appears in the corner of a room as a growing damp patch, it is also likely to occur beneath a sink or behind a radiator (the usual source of the leak).
When a house is well ventilated and damp still occurs it is a sign of an underlying issue. Damp is consequently the least concerning outcome in these situations as the likelihood is that the property has some structural damage or plumbing problems.
Damp can also lead to the formation of mould which not only looks and smells horrible but can aggravate or even induce health problems if it is not quickly removed. Mould can cause asthma and allergies as well as chest infections.
Tenants have a responsibility to report any problems to their landlord; damp is easily identified and can be treated easily if caught early. It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the property is fit for purpose and remains a safe environment for their tenants, ignoring or failing to act when a case of damp is reported can have a direct effect on tenants’ health. A tenant should allow the landlord reasonable time to deal with the issues; normally around 2-3 days to respond and either tackle the problem themselves or arrange for professional assistance. However, if your landlord has failed to carry out their duties and carry out the required repairs you may be entitled to compensation. If the damp has had an effect on tenants’ health then a medical report may be required.