When the weather starts to cool down in autumn months damp and mould can be two common issues in UK homes. But is damp and mould the same thing? Whether you’re buying, selling, or renting, understanding the difference is important for treating and preventing damp or mould.
What is the difference between damp and mould?
Damp is the presence of too much moisture in the walls, floors, or ceilings of a building. This can be caused by issues like leaking pipes or condensation.
Mould, on the other hand, is a fungus that likes to grow in damp environments and feeds on organic materials like wood, paper, or even fabric.
Can damp turn into mould?
If a damp is not treated, then this can lead to a mould problem. A large amount of moisture creates a perfect breeding ground for mould spores. The speed at which mould forms can sometimes be as quick as 24 to 48 hours.
How to prevent damp and mould in cold weather
Cold weather alone doesn’t necessarily cause damp, but a room being too cold has the potential to lead to mould growth. It creates an environment where moisture is trapped, and condensation can occur more readily. Understanding the relationship between cold weather and damp or mould is the first step towards prevention.
Practical tips to prevent damp and mould
- Maintain a consistent room temperature: keeping your home at a consistent, warm temperature can help prevent condensation, especially in the colder months of the year.
- Ventilate: ensure rooms are well-ventilated especially those prone to damp like bathrooms and kitchens.
- Install insulation: good insulation helps keep the warmth in and the cold out, which reduces the risk of condensation building up.
- Use a dehumidifier: these can help control moisture levels in your home.
What to do if you get damp and mould if you rent
As soon as discovered damp or mould in your rental property, deal with it promptly. Notify your landlord or letting agent ASAP.
You and your landlord both have a role to play in tackling this issue. These include:
As a renter you should:
1. Act quickly: early action can prevent it from spreading further.
2. Document it: take photos or videos to record the condition of the affected areas. You can then send this on to your landlord or letting agent so they can see the extent of the issue. It also serves as proof should disputes arise later on.
3. Report the issue: to your landlord or letting agent as soon as possible, if you call be sure to follow up with an email and send any pictures or videos of the affected areas. Be sure to keep a record of all your communications.
4. Do your bit: while waiting for a response, ensure proper ventilation by opening windows and avoiding clutter that could encourage damp. Do not attempt DIY fixes without getting the go-ahead from your landlord.
5. Cooperate with inspections: try to be available for any scheduled inspections or repair works. The sooner a professional can assess the situation, the quicker it will get sorted.
Your landlord or letting agent should:
1. Acknowledge and inspect: they should acknowledge your report of damp or mould promptly. Then organise for a professional to inspect the problem.
2. Identify the cause: they will work with professionals to determine whether it’s rising damp, condensation, or a leak causing the issue.
3. Fix the issue: depending on the cause, your landlord or letting agent should arrange for suitable treatments like damp proofing or improving ventilation.
4. Update you: you should be kept up to date about what steps are being taken and provide timelines for repairs.
5. Prevent future occurrence: depending on the cause, preventative measures should be put in place such as installing extractor fans or sealing gaps if there are any.
Both you and your landlord are responsible for maintaining a damp-free, mould-free living environment. Open communication, prompt action, and a bit of teamwork can go a long way in resolving issues efficiently.
What to do if you find mould while viewing a property to buy?
Finding mould when viewing a property doesn’t necessarily mean you should abandon your interest. If this isn’t a game changer for you then do the following:
- Ask questions: inquire about the extent of the mould problem. How long has it been present and have there been any previous treatments? An honest dialogue with the seller or estate agent is key to addressing the extent of the issue.
- Consider a professional inspection: If you’re serious about the property, it may be wise to hire a professional to assess the mould issue, such as a surveyor or damp-proofing specialist.
- Negotiate: If you decide to proceed with the purchase, consider negotiating the terms to include mould removal or a reduction in price.
If you’re concerned about potential damp or mould in a property whether you’re renting or buying then raise it with the letting or sales agent.
Their expertise ensures that these problems are addressed correctly. They can ensure that landlords for example meet their legal obligations to provide a habitable living environment. We’ve also created a seosonal guide on how to care for your property.
Last Updated: November 22nd, 2023