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Avoiding Damp in Student Properties

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Avoiding Damp in Student Properties

By Ruth MacEachern

Product Manager

Mar 18, 2024

Throughout the past two years the responsibilities of landlords when it comes to preventing mould in their rental properties have been the focus of multiple news stories leading to the introduction of Awaab’s law. While the main focus of these new stories have been on the health risks of mould and damp to younger children and those with weaker immune systems, those managing student properties also have the same responsibilities to their tenants and should be mindful of the actions that they should take to reduce the risk of damp and mould in student housing.

What responsibilities to landlords have

When it comes to damp and mould in student properties, there are legal requirements for landlords to provide a healthy environment for their tenants and mitigate the risk to them. If mould is discovered in a property, changes in legislation mean that it must be dealt with immediately.

Alongside the increased responsibilities for landlords, it is also important for their tenants to communicate any issues in a timely manner and take steps minimise the risks caused by their own behaviour.

The special challenges of student housing

One of the biggest differences between student lets and regular tenancy is that in many cases, there will be periods of time during holidays where the property is empty. While this is less of an issue during the summer months when the weather is dry, cold winter weather over Christmas, and the wetter climate in spring can lead to increased condensation forming in a property when the heating is not used. This will lead to damp patches forming that may not be noticed for several weeks.

An addition to periods when the property is empty, student lets will often have a higher number of people resident than would be the case in a house that is let to a family or couple. In many student properties, more rooms are converted into bedrooms, so a house that may have been originally constructed as a 3-bed property may have been altered to accommodate 4 or 5 individual student bedrooms.

A higher number of people living in a property will create higher humidity. Water vapour is released by many activities including cooking, bathing, and even breathing. If students resident in a property are cooking at different times, this can release large amounts of moisture into the air that will form condensation.

Reducing the risk of damp and mould in student properties

Both tenants and landlords have responsibilities when it comes to reducing the risk of damp and mould.

Good maintenance standards to ensure that the property does not have any leaks is important. This may include regular checks of the roof and around window frames as well as checks on the plumbing to avoid leaks.

The most common cause of damp in UK properties is excess humidity leading to condensation forming on cold walls and windows.

With this in mind, it is important for tenants to be mindful of the impact of certain activities. They should avoid drying clothes indoors and boiling pans without using a lid or switching on the stove top extractor hood to remove steam before it can settle as condensation.

Ensuring that bathroom extractor fans are fitted and used during showers and baths is essential in reducing the spread of water vapour from bathrooms into the rest of the property.

During colder weather, students should ensure that the house is adequately heated. Low temperatures mean that the capacity of the air to hold moisture is reduced and this leads to condensation forming.

Improving the ventilation in student properties is essential. Modern extractor fans in the bathroom and kitchen that incorporate humidity sensors and work automatically when humidity is high work well to reduce the amount of moisture in the air and stop condensation, while efficient whole house ventilation systems such as EnviroVent’s ATMOS Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) range are a highly effective way of preventing condensation leading to damp throughout the property.

Find out more

If you manage student properties it is essential that you take steps to reduce the risk of damp. Investing in modern and effective ventilation systems that stop condensation will stop damp from becoming an issue and help to prevent mould. This protects the health of your tenants while also protecting the fabric of your property from the expensive damage that damp can do.

Contact us today to request a quote from one of our local ventilation specialists.