The different types of damp

Rising damp

This type of damp is common in older properties and happens when moisture travels up from the ground through the masonry to the height of about one metre.

Your landlord is responsible for dealing with this type of damp. So, make sure you report the damp to them as soon as possible.

Penetrating damp

This is caused by a variety of repair issues including a leaking roof or drainage pipe, a cracked wall and rotten windows.

As a result, water from outside penetrates into the fabric of a building to the inside.

Your landlord is responsible for dealing with this type of damp. So, make sure you report the damp to them as soon as possible.

Construction damp

The design of the property is the cause of the dampness in this case.

Your landlord is responsible for repairing the problem when they become aware of it. So, make sure you report the damp to them as soon as possible.

Condensation dampness

Condensation dampness usually happens when a property can't handle normal levels of water vapour and excess moisture sits on cold surfaces.

This is because of a lack of insulation, ventilation or heating.

This could be your responsibility if you don’t take action or if something you’ve done had made the damp worse.

Report the problem to your landlord as soon as possible, so you can get the damp issue fixed.

What can I do if it’s condensation dampness?

The landlord is responsible for keeping your home 'fit to live in' or 'in good condition' and dealing with disrepair for a problem they are responsible for.

So, if your heating isn’t working, some of your windows won’t open or there’s a separate damp issue, inform your landlord straight away.

These disrepair issues which the landlord is responsible for could be contributing to the condensation dampness.

Take pictures of the damp and the disrepair causing the condensation dampness.

Keep records of your communication with the landlord too. This will be important if there’s a dispute or you need to claim compensation later on.

Read our guide on how to claim against your landlord for disrepair for more information on making a compensation claim.

What can I do in the meantime?

Here are some do’s and don’ts if you’re living in a home where there’s condensation dampness or mould:

  • Don’t dry wet clothes on heaters, block air vents, disable fans or use portable gas or paraffin heaters.
  • Do put your extractor fans on when cooking or washing, dry clothes outside or in the bathroom with the windows open and the door closed, regularly clear your windows of condensation.

Each kind of damp needs to be treated differently, and damp repair costs can vary dramatically.

How do I get rid of damp and mould in a rented property?

Read our damp home improvements guides for more information on the different kinds of damp, how to treat them and how much it costs to fix damp problems.

Check your tenancy agreement and speak to your landlord before you make significant steps to tackle the damp.

Keep a record of improvements you’ve made and save your receipts. If it is the landlord’s responsibility to fix, they should reimburse you.

Damp or mould is making me ill, what do I do?

If the disrepair is causing you ill health or is unsafe for you to live in, go to your GP.

Make sure they confirm that your ill health is being caused by damp or mould and keep a written record of this report as evidence.

Your next step is to contact your council’s environmental health department to inspect your home.

If the disrepair is serious enough, the council will serve your landlord with a legal notice to carry out the repairs.

Remember a landlord is not allowed to make you leave your home without following a formal eviction process.

But if your home is found to be unfit for you to live in, you might need to find a new place to live.

Non-compliance may lead to criminal prosecution.

Collect evidence for a claim

To back up your claim ensure you have the following:

  • Photographs of the problems and any damage
  • Receipts for anything you've had to replace (keep the damaged items as they are evidence)  
  • Medical reports, if the disrepair has damaged your health
  • A report from the council’s environmental health department

Enter your postcode to find the website for your local council.

You can also claim compensation from a landlord where your health has been affected by disrepair they are responsible for.

Read our guide on claiming compensation for disrepair for more information.

Can I withhold rent for mould?

Do not withhold rent for a property where there is mould.

Make sure you complain to the landlord and explain that the mould is causing you significant distress.

Attach GP reports to your complaint if the damp is causing you to have health issues.

If the landlord is being unresponsive, follow our steps for how to make a claim for disrepair.

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