Disrepair cases associated with condensation and mould can lead to tenant ill health and damage to assets, not to mention costs that can run into thousands of pounds. For social housing landlords this can be an expensive issue, but the cycle can be broken. Often with expert advice it is possible to avoid the blight of condensation and mould and reduce the risk of disrepair cases brought about by residents. Jeremy Cleeter at mould and condensation control specialists, Airtech Environmental Systems, explains more.
Condensation and mould can be a recurring and costly problem. Not only can it wreak havoc with housing stock leading to costly redecoration, a growing body of evidence has identified the dangerous impact poor air quality is having on inhabitants’ health. This is being tackled by the government with the proposed Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill. Landlords may soon be obliged to ensure fire safety, adequate heating and sufficient ventilation plus, under the proposed Bill, residents would have the right to sue landlords who let properties that aren’t “fit for human habitation”.
Three simple steps
So, what can landlords do to ensure their properties meet the required standards and so avoid costly disrepair cases? The best way is to avoid the formation of mould and condensation in the first place by ensuring homes are effectively ventilated. However, if mould and condensation have already appeared the best course of action is to act fast. As soon as a resident makes a complaint there are three simple steps that landlords can take to effectively solve the problem:
1. Undertake a comprehensive property survey to identify the location and cause of the mould within the dwelling;
2. Carry out a thorough mould removal treatment to eradicate any mould;
3. Install adequate ventilation equipment to ensure condensation and mould won’t return.
This is a big task for a landlord to take on alone. There is a greater chance of success if landlords work in partnership with mould and ventilation experts, such as Airtech Environmental Systems, that offer all of these services backed up by technical knowledge and experience. For extra peace of mind, landlords should use a company that offers a guarantee that the mould will not just return within months. For example, Airtech provide a unique three-year guarantee.
In the event of disrepair
However, if a disrepair case has already been brought against a Housing Association what steps can be taken to help win the case? Detailed record keeping is a must since records are essential to defending disrepair cases. Landlords are used to logging all communications with residents, but many don’t realise it is also possible to record how the resident is using a ventilation system with the latest fans offering useful data through highly sophisticated datalogging which can be used by landlords in disrepair cases.
These ventilation products can record details of the home environment, such as humidity and temperature levels, to allow a landlord to clearly track the effects changing lifestyle habits have on a home environment. It will also demonstrate how reducing relative humidity through adequate heating and ventilation can maintain a healthy home. For example, Airtech’s unique ventilation products allow landlords to identify the relationship between temperature and relative humidity; calculating the ‘dew’ point in an individual home and providing up to 10 years’ worth of saved data. They can also monitor all ‘on/off’ occurrences and map them in relation to the temperature and humidity readings, giving a clear indication of whether the fan has been running as intended.
Quick and effective humidity control
Hand-in-hand with the data logging, Airtech’s specialist control platform monitors the data as it is collected and modulates the fan accordingly to react automatically and proportionally to rising humidity levels, offering quick and effective humidity control. This ensures the resident keeps the optimum environment in the home to avoid condensation and mould forming in the first place.
For Housing Associations, using the latest datalogging facilities as well as expert condensation and mould services are both key to defending, or preferably avoiding, disrepair cases. And with the latest ventilation combined with a professional and knowledgeable maintenance programme, these issues that have blighted both residents’ homes and health can become a thing of the past and social housing landlords can break the cycle of condensation and mould.