Rising mortgage interest rates have caused margins for landlords to narrow significantly over the past two years which reduces the budget available for large maintenance projects. Many property owners are investigating ways to prevent damage to their property portfolio.
Landlords have a responsibility to provide tenants with high quality, safe accommodation and a key requirement is to prevent situations that could affect residents’ health. In recent years, concern about air quality in rented properties has increased and there have been several high-profile stories in the press about the presence of mould in homes which can lead to poor health.
Condensation forms when warm, humid air meets a cold surface. The change in temperature means that the air can no longer hold as much water vapour, and it forms droplets on the surface. If the condensation forms on a surface such as glass or plastic, it is not a problem, however if it forms on painted walls, it can soak through into the underlying plaster.
This causes damp patches to form where, in time, mould will grow.
At the very least damp will cause the pigment to leach out of the plaster in a wall and stain the paint or dissolve wallpaper paste and cause peeling. Walls will need to be redecorated which can be costly and intrusive for residents.
If damp is allowed to persist in a property, it will cause the plaster to crumble. Damaged plaster will need to be replaced. Not only is such remedial work expensive, but it can also mean a property is unavailable for rent for prolonged periods of time.
Mould can be damaging to the health of residents. People with respiratory conditions and allergies can suffer reactions from high concentrations of mould spores in the air. There are also types of mould including Stachybotrys Chartarum (toxic black mould) which release chemicals called mycotoxins into the air. For people with weaker immune systems, toxic black mould can cause a severe response resulting in hospitalisation or worse.
Severe cases of mould will need to be professionally cleaned by a specialist and then need redecoration to remove any remaining stains which will have a high cost.
Water vapour is released into the air by many day-to-day activities including bathing, cooking, drying clothes indoors and even breathing. Every day, each resident in a property is responsible for releasing approximately 2.5 litres of water vapour into the air.
There are steps that residents can take to reduce the amount of water vapour they generate. Ensuring that they use pan lids when cooking on the stove, and close kitchen and bathroom doors when in use will help with condensation spreading to other rooms, but to really reduce the amount of humidity in the home, you will need to ensure that there is sufficient ventilation.
Extractor fans are a requirement in bathrooms and kitchens, but do not always provide sufficient airflow to reduce the amount of water vapour in the air. Modern extractor fans such as the EnviroVent Cyclone 7 feature a humidity sensor which detects the amount of water vapour in the air and adapt their power level to reduce it to safe levels.
In rooms without good airflow, damp and mould can become a problem quickly. If you have noticed damp problems away from kitchens or bathrooms whole house ventilation systems could be the solution. Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) systems such as ATMOS can be retrofitted into a property. A central unit is mounted in the loft and draws in fresh, filtered air from outside. This is then dispersed throughout the property to displace the humid air and stop condensation from forming in all rooms. This will improve air quality and reduce the risk of damage from damp and mould.
If you are concerned about potential damage to your property from condensation, damp, and mould we can help. Our local specialists can provide a survey that will identify the sources of moisture in the house and provide advice about the best possible solution to the problem. Simply enter your postcode below to find a ventilation expert near you.
One of our local experts will contact you to learn more about your problems, offer free expert advice and make recommendations for a permanent solution.
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