The Problem with Mould

Coming into the humid months again, we thought it might be worth while visiting the mould issue.

Mould is caused by excessive condensation. Condensation may not seem like the scariest of all potential intruders, but it could end up doing damage to your asset and your tenants – and you could be responsible for the harm caused. 

What is condensation and why does it occur? 

Condensation occurs when vapour turns into liquid. It’s most often associated with the moisture on your shower screen, or your windows.

It’s the result of the everyday activities of your tenants, and the result of external environmental factors.

The air can only hold a certain amount of water vapour – and the warmer the atmosphere, the more moisture can be held in the air. So, if the air becomes cooled by approaching a cold surface, such as a mirror or window, the vapour turns into droplets of water – forming condensation. 

How is condensation harmful? 

Every property experiences condensation sometimes, but when your property seems to consistently experience this phenomenon, and it can lead to mould growth – and then you’ve got a problem.

Mould is fungal growth, and in addition to simply being an unpleasant presence in the home, mould can be damaging to the health of your tenants – and it can be detrimental to your property. 

Who’s Responsible for the mould?

If mould is the result of a landlord’s failure to properly maintain the premises, the landlord can be in breach of their duties. The landlord is obliged to repair the problem, and could also be liable to pay compensation to the tenant for loss of use of the property and damage to the tenant’s goods.  The full run down can be found on the RTA website.

 

Impact to the property 

Excessive condensation doesn’t simply foster mould growth – it can also damage your property.

Condensation can run off windows to stain woodwork, or in serious cases even damage the wallpaper or plaster – which isn’t cheap to replace.

What can you do? 

Remembering that no property can be 100% free of condensation all year-round, there are several measures you can take to reduce the condensation build-up in your property.

  • Check the roof for leaks and broken tiles.

  • Fix leaky plumbing as soon as possible.

  • The weepholes in aluminium frames can get clogged. If this happens, water will stand in the lower window frame sections. Check weepholes   periodically.

  • Ensure there aren’t any leaking toilets, and that the seals in the bathtub and kitchen sink are undamaged.

  • Fix swollen or crumbling walls, and remove buckling floorboards.

  • If you have treated a mould issue in the past, redecorate using quality fungicidal paint. Where possible, remove lining paper and wallpaper, treat the plaster and then paint or paper the area again.

  • Install effective fans in spaces likely to be affected by condensation, such as bathrooms.

  • Consider installing ventilation over appliances that produce moisture, such as dryers, or stoves.

Mould and other problems caused by structural faults or leaks are usually considered to be your responsibility, so it’s important you take the appropriate measures.

What should your tenants do? 

Despite your obligations, preventing condensation build-up and mould growth in your investment property is a shared responsibility between you and your tenants. 

The lifestyle factors of residents impact the amount of condensation in a property. So, you can’t do everything necessary to protect your property if you don’t live in it. 

There are a few measures your tenants can take to prevent an unhealthy living environment, and damage to your valuable asset. 

  • Open windows and doors regularly to ventilate the home and reduce humidity levels.

  • Clean the bathroom frequently.

  • Dry off clothes and shoes before storing them away.

  • Wipe away moisture on windows and walls to keep the home dry.

  • Dry washing outside whenever possible. Alternatively, hang washing in the bathroom, keeping the door closed and the windows wide open.

  • Always cover pans and pots while cooking.

  • Keep bathroom and kitchen doors closed so moisture doesn’t escape into different parts of the property. 

  • If tenants have a washing machine or dryer, they should ensure that it is vented correctly. From only one load of washing, two litres of water can be emitted into the air.

  • Wipe down surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen after cooking or taking a shower to remove any moisture that has settled on the bench. 

Your dedicated property manager will encourage your tenants to engage in these measures to ensure their health, and your property, are adequately protected from the threats of condensation and mould growth.

If you’d like to find out more about the importance of taking measures to protect your asset from the damage of condensation, talk to your property manager today. 

 

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