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Damp!!!


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Hi All,

Its been a while since I last posted on here. Everything has been running smoothly with the properties minus a few routine maintenance jobs.

Until now anyway... 

I have 2 properties, both suffering from signs of damp.

Property A - Early 1900's northern terrace - random small wet patches appearing on the walls upstairs and downstairs, both internal and external walls. But in both cases they are solid walls. Had a roof survey and had a few slates replaced, but otherwise no issues with the roof or gutters. Agent has been to speak to tenant and they are apparently not putting the heating on due to the cost of energy. Apparently they turn it on if they are in and it gets below 15 degrees.

Property B - Late 1800's northern terrace - black mold now appearing in the corners of the bedrooms on the ceiling and top of the walls, also downstairs damp patches appearing high up on external walls. I have only just been informed of it and they have let it get pretty bad before reporting it, which is a bit frustrating. I am now awaiting the results of a roof and general building survey the agent is organizing. I don't know what the situation is with the heating in this one, but they have been known to dry large amounts of washing on the rads as they have young kids.

In both cases, hearing of mold in the properties causes me some distress and I want to get it sorted. But if the tenant in property A wont put the heating on, what can I do to help the situation?

In the case of property B, I have been told about something called a PIV which improves air flow around the property. But not sure what else to consider, until I get the results of the survey.

With the spotlight well and truly on the energy price hikes and general cost of living and of course the recent coverage in the press about damp issues in rental properties, I'm keen to get this sorted. But at the same time I cant force the tenants to put the heating on and ventilate properties.

Any advice on the above please. Is anyone else having similar issues?

Many thanks in advance.

 

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We have had a nightmare in the past with tenants reporting 'damp'. In our experience its almost always black mould caused by condensation. Cold walls and ceilings in solid walled terraced houses mean it's very common in our experience. The problem is convincing tenants, I've paid for builders to attend and surveys to be carried out by damp experts in the past but the tenants still cant/won't believe its caused by internal moisture from breathing, drying clothes, cooking, bathing etc. Tenants always seem to assume it's 'damp' from a leak and always the landlords fault! Can be very frustrating as you're helpless but the tenant hates you, its costing you a fortune to investigate it and the house decor is getting trashed all at the same time!

Basically in houses like that you need to be very careful in controlling moisture by closing bathroom doors, kitchen doors etc, drying up condensation round windows etc but its very difficult especially if you cant afford to heat rooms (who can atm!). If the house is lived in during the day it's even worse, more breathing, more cooking, more kettle boiling etc. We took to buying dehumidifiers for tenants, we've now started to fit PIVs.

The properties where we have done this, as far as I'm aware, haven't had a re-occurrence. They're approx £400 to buy and easy to fit by an electrician as they can be wired to the lighting circuit. We fit Nuaire ones, there are different types depending on whether the house has a loft, we've used both types. If there's no loft you will need a hole in an outside wall so a bit more expense otherwise they take fresh dry air from the loft. 

If you go on their website it explains the principals around PIV and how it works and also the different models. I've found their aftersales to be very good too for advice and also quickly replacing a unit that was DOA that we'd already had fitted. I think they cost approx 1p per day to run, could be more now but not really significant and you could agree to discount the rent to pay the extra if anyone objected. Seems to have been the silver bullet for us so far touch wood. I used to dread the calls coming in at this time every year, now we'll just arrange for a PIV to be fitted and that will hopefully do the trick. It's probably £600 or so all in but worth every penny IMO if it stops it and stops it for good. 

Good luck, hope you manage to get their issues sorted. 

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Hi CH_ many thanks for your reply. Yes I was dreading opening the email when I saw it this am, as its always a difficult one to deal with.

I've also read numerous reports about so called damp specialist companies recommended loads of unnecessary work to install new DPC's that then don't remedy the issue. As like you say its a condensation problem. I've heard about the PIV's, in fact I called a company today called EnviroVent, which looks like a national outfit who supply and fit. So I'll see what they recommend when they call me back. I'll also check out the one you have recommended and see if the agents maintenance team are able to install it.

I'm considering paying for a cleaning firm to go and clean the mold patches off the ceiling whilst we await the survey, as I don't like the thought of it being there, even though its probably caused by their use of the property.

Many thanks.

 

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