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Home > My home > Safety in your home > Condensation, damp and mould

Keeping your home free from condensation, damp and mould

If you are a shared owner or leaseholder, then you are responsible for dealing with condensation and mould in your home, once your property is older than 12 months.

However, if you are continuing to experience problems with damp and mould, please speak to us for advice.

There are some simple ways you can deal with condensation and mould in your home by reducing moisture in the air, improving ventilation and using your heating efficiently.

Mould is caused by excess water and, in a home, is often the result of condensation. If you don’t deal with mould it can lead to problems which can damage the condition of your home and even affect your health.

Everyday things like cooking, washing, bathing and even breathing cause moisture, which is released into the air. The air can only hold a certain amount of water vapour - the warmer it is, the more it can hold. If this is cooled by contact with a cold surface such as mirror, a window or even a wall, the water vapour will turn into droplets of water - condensation. This is what happens when the mirrors mists up in the bathroom.

It is quite normal to find your bedroom windows misted up in the morning after a cold night. This does not mean there is a serious condensation problem.

If your home never seems to be free from condensation, or you have mould growth as well, the good news is that most problems with condensation and mould can be sorted out quickly if you reduce the moisture in the air, find where mould is growing and clear it away properly.

Mould can grow on any surface, so if you spot any mould it’s important to take early action as it can spread quickly.

Mould can typically be found on or next to windows, in the corners and edges of rooms, and behind and inside wardrobes and cupboards (especially if they’re against an outside wall).

New build homes take time to dry out.

Condensation comes from water in the materials used to build your home and it takes on average around 12 months for a new build home to fully dry out. During this time there is higher chance of mould growth because moisture levels inside your home will be higher than usual. New homes are designed to be well insulated and air-tight to meet current building regulations so it’s harder for warm air and moisture to escape.

New build homes need good ventilation and gentle heating to prevent damp and mould issues, especially during the colder months. Mould growth in a new build property is unlikely to be accepted by the builder as a defect and so it is important that you reduce condensation in your new home.

For more information, see the ‘Moisture in new homes - a guide for occupants’ on the NHBC Foundation website.

Produce less moisture

  • Dry your washing outside whenever you can. If you dry clothes inside hang them in the kitchen or bathroom, but keep the door closed and the window wide open or an extractor fan on.
  • Don’t put wet clothes on radiators – using a drying rack is much better.
  • Never use portable gas bottles or paraffin (flueless) heaters.
  • Permanently vent your tumble drier to the outside of your home, using a suitable kit recommended by the manufacturer.
  • While cooking, always cover pans and don’t leave kettles boiling.

Improve ventilation

  • When a room is in use, keep a small window and/or trickle vent open.
  • Ventilate bathrooms and kitchens regularly.
  • Keep bathroom and kitchen doors closed even if they have extractor fans.
  • Ventilate cupboards and wardrobes – do not overfill wardrobes. If possible, locate wardrobes against internal partition walls.
  • Leave a gap between the furniture and walls so air can circulate.

Insulate and heat your home

If your home is not sufficiently heated, you’re more likely to have issues with condensation. Keeping your home warm with insulation, draught-proofing and heating reduces the risk of condensation.

  • Keep your heating at a steady temperature (18-21c). Find a setting that gives you the heat you need without increasing your heating costs.
  • If you have thermostatic radiator valves, put them at a lower setting in rooms you don’t use much, but don’t switch of heating entirely.
  • Avoid using alternative heat sources such as paraffin heaters, these can create more moisture into the air.
  • Wear protective gloves and a face mask, along with old clothes that you don’t mind throwing away.
  • Open windows in the room you’re cleaning and shut the door.
  • Use a domestic cleaning product or mould remover – you can buy these from supermarkets and DIY stores. Carefully follow product guidance and safety instructions.
  • Some natural products can be used to tackle mould. It is always best to do your own research into this.
  • After clearing the mould, clean all surfaces by wiping down with a wet cloth to remove any spores that may have spread, then dry the surfaces. Redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint.

If you’ve tried to reduce the moisture in your rented home and it’s not working, or if you have a problem with severe condensation or mould, please contact us

There are a number of ways in which we can help:

  • We’ll ask you about the extent and the specific location of any issues. We may ask you to send us photos of the problem areas.
  • Where necessary, we’ll provide initial advice over the phone and arrange for any repairs that are evident.
  • If necessary, we’ll work with you to arrange a convenient time to visit your home to assess the situation.
  • We’ll aim to visit to do an assessment within 20 working days.
  • We’ll contact you with our findings and intended actions within 10 working days of completing our assessment.
  • We’ll follow up with you again within 6 months to check if the issue is resolved.

Awaab’s Law and our response to damp and mould

The Government’s Social Housing (Regulation) Act was passed in July 2023 to increase proactive consumer regulation and ensure social housing across England is of a decent standard, with customers having their voices heard.

This Bill provides the legal basis for many of the measures set out in the Government’s Social Housing White Paper.

It includes Awaab’s Law, following the tragic death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak. An inquest (in November 2022) ruled that Awaab had died from prolonged exposure to damp and mould in his housing association flat in Rochdale. Awaab’s Law will require social housing landlords to fix hazards, such as damp and mould, in their homes within strict time limits.

Providing decent, safe homes is a priority for us at Cottsway. We take the issue of damp and mould very seriously and the information above sets out how we respond to reports of condensation, damp and mould.

Following Awaab’s inquest, our Chief Executive wrote to all customers to encourage them to report any concerns and provide advice on damp and mould.

We reviewed our procedure and approach to reports of damp and mould, assessing ourselves against recommendations made by the Housing Ombudsman.

We also responded to a request from the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) to all housing associations in the country asking about our approach to damp and mould.

The RSH used the information provided to assess whether housing associations were meeting their obligations and has taken appropriate action where needed. The Regulator has not asked Cottsway to take any further action after receiving our response.

We are continuing to focus on the issue of damp and mould:

  • Our performance and response to the issue is monitored on an ongoing basis by monthly reporting to senior management, and quarterly to our Board.
  • Our customer Scrutiny Group carried out a review into how we respond to reports of damp and mould and made a number of recommendations for improvements. We have agreed an action plan and the Scrutiny Group will monitor our progress delivering the improvements we need to make. Read their: Review of the new damp and mould service from January 2023: Summary

We will continue to assess ourselves against the Housing Ombudsman recommendations and we will also continue to review emerging regulations and ensure that we comply.

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