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Rising damp – how can you ensure damp is not an issue in your rental home?

Damp in your home is a serious issue, potentially costing thousands to repair. It’s important that you act quickly as soon as you spot the signs of damp. If left to escalate, damp can impact the structure of your home and even pose serious health risks.

Leading boiler providers, Boiler Plan, below share the different types of damp to look out for and what you can do to stop it.

Condensation damp is the most common, costing up to £2,000


When it comes to damp in our homes, condensation damp is the most common. This occurs when hot air hits cold walls and surfaces. You might see this when you take a shower in a cold bathroom.

This type of damp is also one of the easiest to avoid by ensuring the moisture doesn’t consistently build up.

You can avoid this by following a few simple steps. A good rule of thumb is to keep your heating on periodically through the day as this will make sure the moisture doesn’t build up on cold walls. Similarly, keep your home ventilated as much as possible. If you happen to be working from home, open your windows for at least 15 minutes each day and encourage ventilation through your home by opening doors.

However, remember to shut those doors when you are taking a shower or bath. You might think it’s a good idea to let the moisture spread but it will just settle in other areas of your home. Instead, open the window if possible.

If you find that you see the most moisture in the bathroom, it could be worthwhile investing in anti-mould paint if you have time for a spot of DIY to further prevent any issues.

Once you have completed the steps above, it’s important to also:

  • Dry out damp areas as much as possible. Dehumidifiers will take the moisture out of the air, so keep them running as long as possible.

  • Wipe away any mould with warm, soapy water with cloths. Don’t use brushes as this could spread the spores.

  • Throw away any cloths used to wipe the mould.

  • Dry wet surfaces with a towel – such as your bathroom tiles – after you have had a shower or bath.

Rising damp could cost you up to £6,000 to fix

Rising damp is so called because the damp rises. It is caused by groundwater moving up your wall. You will notice this if the lower half of your walls look wet and have what is known as a ‘tide-line’ above it.

If you have an ineffective damp-proof course, or none at all, you will need to have a new course installed as that is the only thing that will prevent this kind of damp. Sadly, this can cost between £2,000 - £6,000, so you must act fast if you spot any of the below signs:

  • The appearance of a white salt like texture on your walls

  • Damp on the bottom half of your walls

  • Plaster crumbling and paint or wallpaper starting to peel

  • Damage to your skirting boards

Penetrating damp can see homeowners spending up to £500 per room to repair

This form of damp occurs when leaks come in from the outside due to the likes of poorly installed windows, bad joinery, roofing issues and more that allow water to be absorbed.

If you spot damp patches on the wall and or cracks, and blotchy plastering, you need to act quickly as this type of damp damages the structure of the house quicker than the other forms of damp – meaning you could be left with a large repair bill.

To stop penetrating damp, you will need to check for any issues with the walls, flashing, loft, roof, windows, doors, gutters, pipes and drainage systems.

Responsibilities as a landlord

While tenants are expected to ensure the property is well-ventilated and to heat the home properly to make sure damp isn’t allowed to build up, landlords also have a duty to ensure acceptable living conditions.

If a tenant spots any signs of damp, they must report it to you as the landlord immediately for repairs. As this could damage their belongings and impact their health, it must be rectified. You, the landlord, have a duty to inspect the issue and carry out repairs within a reasonable timeframe, keeping the tenants informed.

*Boiler Plan sells, repairs, installs, maintains and protects boilers. It was founded by Ian Henderson in 2014 to ‘turn the industry on its head’. You can find out more here.

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