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Landlords warned to keep an eye out for mould over the winter
22nd December 2011
As well as taking out contents insurance cover, landlords would be well advised to protect the furnishings in their properties by watching out for mould.
According to landlord Kim Thorogood, who is also a specialist adviser at a ventilation company, mould in rented properties is usually caused by condensation.
As tenants are less likely to open windows during cold weather, mould is a particular threat during the winter as a lack of ventilation will lead to increased condensation, while the improved energy efficiency of modern properties makes it more difficult for moisture to escape, exacerbating the situation.
Writing in a blog post for the National Landlords Association, she commented: "If the humidity level in the property is over 80 per cent for 6 hours or longer then mould can occur.
"High internal relative humidity in a property is the result of poor ventilation. This makes sense really as you are less likely to see condensation in the warmer summer months when the windows are open."
The expert listed some of the signs landlords can look out for to spot high levels of condensation, including streaming windows and walls, damp areas starting to appear and a constant musty damp smell developing.
If mould does occur, it will most likely first appear on window frames, walls and ceilings as well as soft furnishings.
Landlords can reduce the chances of condensation and mould becoming a problem by insuring they have good ventilation installed in the property.
"Installing extract fans in the bathrooms and a ventilation unit in the loft area will solve most condensation problems," said Ms Thorogood.
"By gently introducing fresh, filtered air into the home at a continuous low rate, the relative humidity levels are reduced."
Asking tenants to keep the inside temperature reasonably constant for as much of the time as possible and to keep furniture away from walls will also help in properties where condensation is a problem.
Posted by Lisa Evans