Damp, Condensation and Mould

Damp and mould within the home can have detrimental effects on residents’ health and wellbeing. 

Landlords have a legal responsibility to ensure that the properties they own or manage are safe and free from significant disrepair and this includes damp or mould issues.

Damp and mould can form in domestic properties for several reasons including: -

  • Penetrating Damp - this is where structural disrepair such as a water leak caused by a faulty pipe, window frames being in such poor condition  or a roof leak allows water to enter into the property. Water marks can normally be seen in patches along one specific area where the defect is thought to be. This type of damp would not affect the entire property and is normally confined to one area. Black mould is rarely seen on penetrating damp, it is more noticeable after rainfall and may be wet to the touch.
  • Traumatic Damp - this is where there are water leaks from pipework or water tanks or cylinders. The appearance is similar to penetrating damp and tends to be limited to one area, but can cause other problems like preventing heating systems from working.
  • Rising Damp - this is caused by defective or non-existent damp proof protection in walls which allows ground water to rise into the property. Rising damp will only occur on the ground floor walls and tends to be towards the bottom of walls. This is associated with older properties, but is not always the case. There is not usually mould present on areas affected by rising damp.
  • Condensation related damp and mould - this is caused when warm, humid air in a property condenses on cold surfaces which in turn allows mould to flourish. This can also affect soft furnishings and clothing. This is caused by a combination of factors relating to inadequate heating, ventilation or insulation but is also influenced by the way that we use our homes. It can also be influenced by other defects that cause water leaks which in turn make condensation issues worse. Find out how you can help to reduce condensation in your home.

The Government has published guidance aimed at all housing providers setting out the legal framework and the expected steps that landlords should take in investigating and taking action following complaints of damp and mould. The information they have provided can be found on the government website, Understanding and addressing the health risks of damp and mould in the home - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Tenants with concerns about their rented properties should first contact their landlord or letting agent for help. Landlords and their letting agents are expected to respond quickly and sympathetically to tenant concerns and should not seek to blame tenants for the conditions present. There is a role for tenants and landlords to work together to correctly identify and resolve damp and mould issues, especially where there are multiple causes for instance where there are condensation damp issues. 

Whilst sometimes it can take time for works to be arranged, landlords are expected to keep tenants updated with the planned action and any timescales. 

In December 2023 the Housing Standards Team has sent a letter to lettings agents within Stafford Borough, outlining their responsibilities for addressing complaints of damp or mould. View a copy of the Housing Standards Team's letter (pdf 113kb).

If a landlord or lettings agent fail to take appropriate action in addressing the disrepair, the Housing Standards Team can take action to require that improvements are made so that a tenant can have peace and enjoyment of their home. These powers include: 

  • Informal action such as advice and guidance to the tenant and landlord to assist in addressing the issue and reduce the exposure to damp or mould.
  • Serving a legal notice which would force a landlord or lettings agent to take certain defined action to address the disrepair to the property and reduce the damp or mould.

You can also read into further information of the Housing Standards Team enforcement powers.

The issue of damp and mould can sometimes be linked to other issues tenants may be experiencing, such as affordability of heating their home. There are organisations and charities that operate within Stafford Borough who may be able to assist with affordability issues that tenants are facing by providing advice or signposting to available financial support. The links to these organisations are as follows:

Landlords may also need support or advice on how to make their property more energy efficient. Again, there are organisations that cover Stafford Borough who may be able to help with this. They are: 

If you feel that you need any further advice regarding damp and mould or feel that your landlord or lettings agent is not taking your complaint seriously, then you can contact the Housing Standards team at housingstandards@staffordbc.gov.uk or on 01785 619000.

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