Thursday, 8 December 2011

Winter is here again so is condensation

Winter has finally arrived and so will the condensation problems in rental properties.

Last winter working for a letting agent carrying out routine property inspection visits, a lot of people were compaining about "damp".

Unfortunately in so many properties fresh air does not get. Gone is the era of the old Victorian house with fireplaces in several rooms and floorboards not being fully covered in thick carpet and windows not being one hundred percent sealed when shut.

You now have a situation of double glazed windows, well insulated walls, floors and ceilings and people not letting in fresh air and keeping heaters turned up high.

Yes there are problems with damp problems being caused by slipped roofing tiles, drainage pipes leaking and a lot more, however so many tenants do not open windows to change the air. Heating costs never go down and they are worried about these and don't want to let the cold air in, even for a few minutes.

I came across one flat after Christmas last year and noticed the living room window looked rather odd. Initially I thought it was Christmas decorations and then was told by the tenant that she had put cling film all over the windows to keep the place warmer. The property actually had double glazing and the cling film was causing a build ip of condensation. The tenant was using the trickle vents and do not know what they were for.

Trickle vents are normally at the top of mist modern double glazed windows and doors and let a small amount of fresh air into the room.

When letting a property it is useful to leave notes on how to prevent condensation and list the daily routine.

External bathrooms - open the window for a few minutes after a bath or shower has been taken.

Open windows when cooking.

Make sure any washer dryers are properly vented.

If any black moud appears clean it up and make sure there is proper ventilation in wardrobes, in particular those on outside walls.

Don't hang your washing out todry in front of heaters in the rooms.

Suggest or provide a dehumidifier if the property is likely to suffer from condensation problems.

It is true that a lot of properties can have condensation problems, but it is often the occupiers that cause them. I was involved for several years with the management of a "HMO - House in multiple occupation" divided into several bedsits. Some tenants kept the sah windows slightly open and never had problems. I recollect one large unit whereby the wall were rotting below the windows. A previous couple of tenants had never had a condensation "damp" problem. 

The Environmental Health Officer was called in as the tenant claimed the property was unfit for habitation. The first thing the EHO said was take the heavy duty plastic off ftom the windows as they were completely sealed and could not be opened. It did the trick.

We have more information on the jml Property Services website on this subject here. 

1 comment:

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