#ExpertView: How do we stamp out damp, condensation and mould in the PRS?


| 21 November 2017

Property expert Kate Faulkner discusses the need to stamp out damp in the private rental sector. Kate believes that the lettings industry and the Government should work together to minimise the chance of properties being let with damp or mould issues.

Property expert, Kate Faulkner, has called for better education of landlords on how to fix damp, mould and condensation problems as well as educating tenants on what they can do to help avoid these issues developing. She also believes there is more scope for the Government and industry to work together to minimise the chance of properties being let that have damp or mould issues.

Kate is the founder of PropertyChecklists.com and has produced a report on damp, condensation and mould in the private rental sector on behalf of the TDS’s Charitable Foundation, which works to raise standards in the industry.

The impact of damp and condensation on tenants’ health can be significant as these issues can cause allergies, respiratory issues and even affect the immune system. 29% of all privately rented properties surveyed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in 2014/15 were considered ‘non-decent homes’ and 9% reported damp as an issue. A survey of student tenants carried out by the National Union of Students found that 61% of student properties had problems with damp.

Damp, mould and condensation are often the cause of conflict within the rental market as parties disagree about whose responsibility it is. The provisions introduced as part of the Deregulation Act ha helped to prevent landlords from just evicting tenants who complain about issues such as damp or mould, so moving forward tenants should feel more comfortable reporting problems.

Further education is needed to both motivate landlords to fix the problems when they arise and to advise tenants on when it is their responsibility to solve or avoid the issue such as ensuring adequate heating and ventilation in the property. It is also important to understand the statistics behind problems such as damp or mould, for example if the issue is more prevalent in flats it may be due to disagreements between the freeholder and leaseholder over responsibility.

It is important that the government and lettings industry works together to introduce steps that minimise the likelihood of properties with damp and mould issues being let to tenants. This may mean more effort is required from agents, insurers and other industry professionals and if necessary, additional government legislation may be required.

The biggest difference that can be made quickly is education of landlords on how to fix damp, mould and condensation problems as well as enabling tenants to understand how to avoid these situations developing in the first place.

Kate’s full report is available online at: https://goo.gl/DYwYus

About TDS

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a Government-approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and also provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.

We provide invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and disputes for agents and landlords through the TDS Academy as well as joining with MOL to provide the Technical Award in Residential Tenancy Deposits.

TDS Insured Scheme: where a TDS member can hold the tenancy deposits as stakeholder during the term of the tenancy.

TDS Custodial Scheme: where TDS hold the deposit for the duration of the tenancy.

TDS Academy: TDS provides property professionals with invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and tenancy deposit disputes.

TDS Northern Ireland: TDS is Northern Ireland's leading and only not for profit tenancy deposit protection scheme.

TDS can only comment on the process for our scheme, other deposit protection schemes may have a different process/require different steps. Content is correct at the time of writing.

These views are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of TDS, its officers and employees.

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