Damp, Mould and Condensation
As a social landlord we are committed to providing safe, energy efficient and comfortable homes. We have a responsibility to make sure your home is safe, healthy and free from things that could cause serious harm including damp and mould.
Housing Services have a legal responsibility to manage repairs and complete any work required to improve damp issues. It is important you, as a tenant, report any issues to us so we can work quickly to help resolve the problems. We recognise what the impact of damp and mould can have on our tenants, including distress, inconvenience and concerns about health and well-being.
Below you will find detailed information on damp, mould and condensation and the ways in which we can all work together to prevent, eliminate, reduce and manage the causes.
Damp is a common problem which most households will experience. There are several types of damp and the 3 main causes of damp and mould within properties are:
- condensation, leading to mould growth.
- penetrating damp
- rising damp
We also have our leaflets available in:
- Condensation leaflet Arabic [pdf document]
- Condensation leaflet Polish [pdf document]
- Condensation leaflet Russian [pdf document]
This is by far the most common cause of damp and mould within properties, particularly during the winter months.
In your home, condensation is often seen as water on your windows and is more noticeable when the weather gets colder and the outside temperature drops.
The moisture in the air can cause mould growth on walls and ceilings as well as on furniture and your possessions. We are able to identify excessive moisture in the air by using a hygrometer.
There are things that both you and we can do to help reduce and prevent condensation. Please see attached a brief guide on Condensation[pdf document] to help explain in more detail.
This occurs when there’s a defect with the fabric of the building or services within it, allowing water to enter the property.
This could be a roof leak, disrepair to windows, door frames or a leak from a water pipe inside the property.
Penetrating damp can usually be identified by water staining, typically yellow/brown in colour, in a particular area where the water is entering the property.
The location of this staining is generally an indication of the source of the leak and water.
Rising damp is caused by the breakdown or deterioration of the damp proof course of the building.
Moisture then rises up the walls to a maximum height of around 1m. We are able to identify rising damp by taking damp meter readings and taking advice from our specialist damp proof company.
As with penetrating damp, it can be identified by a tide mark which can be yellowy brown or can be white and textured. This texture is caused by salts from the ground and the plaster being drawn through the wall with water.
We will make sure all reports of damp, mould and condensation are taken seriously and are a high priority. We have a zero tolerance to damp issues and as well as dealing with issues in occupied homes we also ensure that we carry out full house inspections on our empty homes prior to tenants moving in to highlight any potential damp and mould issues and rectify these.
We will offer immediate advice around reducing condensation within a home until a property inspection can be carried out. We will arrange a mutually convenient time with the tenant to arrange a property inspection as soon as possible.
- Inspect the building itself, including brickwork, windows, external doors, guttering, downpipes, drains and damp-proof courses.
- Inspect the home internally, including radiators, windows, trickle vents, extractor fans, visible pipework, bath seals and walls and ceilings for signs of mould growth.
- Check that internal extractor fans are fitted to the kitchen and bathroom or a whole house Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) unit is installed, turned on and in good working order.
- Take damp meter readings and air moisture (humidity) readings in each room and record these.
- Refer to our specialist damp contractors if there are signs of rising damp or if the damp proof course has failed.
- Arrange any necessary repairs to the property and install extra ventilation units or air bricks as required to assist with air flow.
- Offer advice and assistance to our tenants on how to clean any signs of mould and any additional actions they can take to help mould spots from forming.
- Refer tenants to our Tenancy Sustainment Team to ensure they have maximised their income and where appropriate refer to specialist debt advice to ensure they can afford to heat their home .
- Refer tenants who tell us they are struggling to manage damp and mould to Adult Social Care and support agencies for further assistance within their home.
- Offer advice, support and take appropriate actions to households where there are contributing factors including hoarding and overcrowding to find a best possible solution.
We recognise that not every case is the same, its important that you report any issues to us straight away so we can arrange to inspect and take remedial action when necessary. You should always follow any advice and guidance issued by us on managing and controlling damp, condensation, and mould.
To help reduce condensation and moisture in your home here are some simple actions that you can do to help:
Ventilate the home to help stop the build-up of damp by:
- Keeping trickle vents open in window frames.
- Drying any wet windows and frames regularly.
- Opening windows, even if only slightly and on the security setting.
- Opening windows while cooking, washing, drying clothes and bathing.
- Ensuring all extractor fans are used.
- Ventilating cupboards and wardrobes by providing breather holes in false backs.
- Don’t overfill cupboards and wardrobes – make sure there is enough space for air to flow.
- Leaving a gap between walls and furniture to allow the air to move.
- Don’t block air vents, air bricks or trickle vents – these help to keep the air moving.
- Heat your home effectively. It is best, where possible, to have a constant, low background heat which helps to create warmer surfaces and reduces the chance of damp, condensation, and mould.
Reduce the presence of moisture to a minimum within the property by:
- Covering pans when cooking.
- Don’t leave kettles boiling.
- Keeping kitchen doors closed when cooking.
- Using extractor fans.
- Keeping bathroom doors closed when bathing and open the window.
- Drying clothes outside if possible.
- Using a ventilated tumble dryer.
- Avoid using portable fuel-less heaters.
- If you are drying washing inside, do so in a closed, heated, and well-ventilated room.
We recommend that you treat any signs of black mould straight away and do not let the mould spread. Let us know if you, or anyone in your household has health issues or support needs so we can ensure we take appropriate actions and where necessary refer to specialist agencies to assist you.
How to Contact us
There are several ways you can report a repair and damp/mould. By:
- Using your Darlington Home Online account. Register for a Darlington Home Online account[external link] orlog in to your account[external link]. More information on your Darlington Home Online account.
- Emailing [email protected]
- Calling us on 01325 405333
What if I am not satisfied with the response?
We hope that we can work together with our residents and listen to their voices regarding problems with damp and mould, but if you are unhappy with the response from the Housing team we have a complaints procedure you can follow and you can contact our Complaints Team by: