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Tackling mould and condensation

Every winter we get a number of calls from tenants reporting black mould growth on walls and ceilings. These reports increase during winter with colder temperatures. The likelihood is that the risk of properties getting mould will increase with energy costs rising, and us all looking to reduce our use of heating.

It is important to be aware that there is a difference between mould caused because of a defect in the property, and mould caused by condensation. There is always moisture in the air, but as air temperatures cool down, the air can't hold as much moisture and tiny drops of water appear - this is condensation. It mainly happens during cold weather and appears on cold surfaces and places, where there is little air movement such as in corners of rooms, near and on windows or behind cupboards and wardrobes. It is in these conditions that black mould can start to appear.

To manage condensation and mould we need to work with you. There are some simple things you can do that can make a big difference to reduce air moisture levels in your home, such as:

  • Put lids on saucepans
  • When the kitchen or bathroom is being used, close the doors, and open the windows
  • Dry clothes outside where space is provided as part of your tenancy
  • If using a tumble dryer make sure it is vented to the outside.
  • If you need to dry clothes indoors, put them in the bathroom, shut the door and keep the window open to stop moisture spreading
  • Mop up any condensation every day, particularly from windows sills - for small areas of mould, wash down with anti-fungal wash (always follow the manufacturer's instructions).
  • Keep furniture away from walls, particularly external walls
  • Heat your home more evenly meaning, low level heating all day rather than short blasts - this should also reduce your heating bill
  • Most windows have small trickle vents in the top of the window frame - keep these open to increase ventilation These measures should prevent or greatly reduce the condensation and mould growth you experience.
  • Maintain good ventilation of the property as much as possible.
  • Ensure that any extractor fans are working and in use at times of high moisture production.

Guides to controlling mould and condensation are available to download below.

Dealing with damp and condensation (PDF) [477KB]

Centre for Sustainable Energy - Condensation, damp and mould guide (PDF) [1.41MB]

When you call our help desk with a damp or mould issue, we will talk through where and when it is happening to understand the severity of the issue and determine the cause, condensation and/or a defect with the property. We will look at your repair records to see if it is a re-occurring issue. We will also ask you to make us aware of any respiratory health concerns, or vulnerability within your household.

  • If it seems the problems could be related to condensation, we will send you a letter with a leaflet setting out the causes and what you can do to reduce the levels of condensation in your home.
  • Depending on the severity and what you can tell us, we may raise an order for our contractor to attend to carry out an initial investigation and any immediate works required. They may also give you a spray you can use to wash and treat small areas of mould.
  • If this is unsuccessful, we will either raise orders for further required works, or send a surveyor out to inspect your home.
  • The surveyor will inform you of their findings and works they will organise. They will set out any further actions you could take to help better reduce air moisture levels in your property.
  • The surveyor will schedule a calendar reminder to contact you to check the progress of improving the management of mould in your home. Where mould is found to be predominantly due to over occupancy, where high air moister levels and lack of air movement cause condensation, the Neighbourhood Housing team will be notified and they will support you to explore your housing options to find more suitably sized accommodation.

Reporting an issue with mould and condensation

Low levels of condensation are unavoidable in most properties, but can be managed through the above guidance. However, if you believe you are experiencing issues with mould and condensation due to an issue with the fabric of your building, please report that to us for further investigation.

If you are a Council tenant and you need to report an issue with mould and condensation in your property, please use our Housing repairs and maintenance page.

If you are a private tenant, you should report issues to your landlord or Housing Association in the first instance. If you have followed these steps and have an ongoing issue which is not being addressed, please make a report to us using our Report a private housing problem page.