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Have You Found Mould in Your Student Accommodation?

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Have You Found Mould in Your Student Accommodation?

By Ruth MacEachern

Product Manager

Nov 06, 2020

In the past few years there have been major improvements to the quality of student accommodation at many universities around the country.  Large property development companies have invested heavily in state-of-the-art apartment blocks that feature modern designs and provide an excellent standard of housing.  This modern accommodation, often owned or managed by the university, is supplemented by more traditional student housing owned by private landlords.

Government legislation means that many of the old tropes about student accommodation are no longer true.  Landlords are required by law to provide a safe and well-maintained environment for their tenants, however, as is the case with much older housing stock, there are common problems that crop up including issues with condensation and mould.

A house that is generally susceptible to mould may be more prone with multiple people living in it, as they will individually contribute more moisture to the air through bathing, washing and drying clothes. 

Where can Mould develop in student accommodation?

Mould can be present in many locations around the home, and once established spores can develop quickly in other places.  From first appearing in colder places which attract condensation – such as around window and door frames or on ceilings, mould can spread to wardrobes, and even mattresses which can create a health risk.

Health problems caused by mould

The presence of mould can be depressing, but it is also a health hazard with potential consequences for people with breathing disorders such as asthma.  Common reactions to mould around the home include:

  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Eye Irritation
  • Allergic reactions

Causes of Mould in Student Accommodation

The primary cause of condensation and mould is poor ventilation as air is not adequately moving around the property, however other factors will affect how severe the problem of mould can become:

1. Inadequate heating

Maintaining a constant temperature in your property and combining this with good ventilation to aid the movement of air will help to reduce the amount of condensation that can develop.  EnviroVent offer a range of ventilation solutions that aid airflow and allow warmed air to be distributed more consistently throughout the property.

2. Occupancy levels

The number of people in a home contributes to the amount of moisture that is generated.  4 people sharing facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms will create a substantial amount of moisture between them from cooking, cleaning and bathing.  Older properties were not necessarily designed to handle airflow in the same way as more modern multiple occupancy homes, and as such there may not be sufficient natural ventilation to handle the moisture that people produce.  This moisture causes the condensation that provides a basis for mould to develop.

3. Indoor drying

In many city centres, there is limited outdoor space to dry clothes and as a result, indoor drying can be hard to avoid.  Avoiding the temptation to hang clothes on radiators can help to reduce the amount of moisture that is spread into the air and which can condense on walls.  Airers placed in a well-ventilated room may mean a longer drying time but will also reduce the risk of mould.

What You Can Do

Any tenant who is renting a property that suffers from condensation and mould should contact their landlord to have the issues resolved.  EnviroVent’s network of local damp and mould specialists can provide advice and solutions to improve air quality and ventilation to reduce the incidence of mould in student properties.