In many house, it is very common to experience damp or mould at some point during a tenancy and it may come as a shock when you move your wardrobe and see half your wall covered in a dark smelly substance.. Or when taking a shower and you glance upwards to see the ceiling has been overtaken by black spots... This will more than likely be a case of mould. In this post we dive in to Mould-Kingdom and to tell you what mould is, how to prevent it, when is it your responsibility (or the landlord's) and how to treat it. 

What Is Mould?
Mould is one type of fungus which is a naturally occurring organism playing a major role in the earth’s ecosystem. These microscopic fungi exist everywhere except under water, parts of the Arctic and Antarctic, and in artificial environments like clean rooms. 

How Does Mould Grow & Spread?
Mould needs moisture (or water) to grow. No moisture = no growth. Mould also needs food, oxygen and ideally a warm temperature. Since mould decomposes dead organic material it can grow on wood, clothes, walls, ceilings and some synthetic materials such as adhesives, pastes and paints.

Moulds prefer wet or damp materials and is formed by excess moisture. Moisture in buildings can be caused by leaking pipes, rising damp in basements or ground floors, or rain seeping in because of damage to the roof or around window frames. 

With a typical student house (4 young adults), things to consider as major contributors to condensation/moisture are: showering every day, cooking (potentially separate meals) and drying clothes in the house. This is magnified by the time of year and by the number of people staying at the property.

How To Prevent Mould 
Obviously, you can’t stop cooking, washing and bathing. However, there are effective to reduce the amount of moisture produced from each of those daily activities, such as:

1) Kitchen or bathroom extractor fans must be turned on when cooking/bathing
2) Windows must be opened when finished bathing/cooking
3) Saucepan lids must be used when boiling water to cook food
4) Do not dry laundry on radiators! If you do it's critical you open doors/windows
5) Maintain a consistent temperature in the day, gradually decreasing when you go to bed
6) Ventilate your room/house regularly – let air in and out , even on cold days. This will let some of the moisture escape.

Here is a great video to watch, which explains the types of mould/damp and causes of them.

Who's Responsible For Fixing Mould? 
Mould can be the responsibility of the landlord particularly if it is due to poor insulation, ventilation or heating. This means they have a duty to keep the property wind and watertight and reasonably fit for purpose. 

However, it is also the tenants responsibility to keep the property in a good state of repair and the mould could be their doing as they may have contributed towards it. It will depend on the tenancy agreement, the severity of the problem and the cause. For example, it could be due to how well ventilated the tenant keeps the property or if there is any disrepair to the exterior of the building. 

What Do You Do If You Find Damp/Mould?

If you have damp or mould the first thing to do is find the cause. Damp and mould can affect your health so it's extremely important to get rid of it. Never ignore it or leave it to grow. The most effective thing to do is to wipe it down with soapy water as soon as you see it and then report it to your agent or landlord.

We hope that you found these tips helpful and use them to either avoid signs of damp/mould.

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