Landlords and tenants are continually arguing over damp and condensation – and as the nights draw in the battle is about to start again.

The baffling point for landlords is when they hand a home over, the property is damp free.

However, tenants invariably hand many homes back riddled with damp and mould.

The cause is condensation, but whose fault is the problem?

Damp becomes more of an issue in the winter as tenants are less likely to dry their washing outside or open windows in the colder weather.

The responsibility is the tenants in most cases. Tenants are obliged to maintain the property they live in and that means avoiding condensation that leads to damp.

But landlords can help themselves by handing the tenant a condensation checklist at the start of a tenancy.

The checklist should explain:

  • Keep the home at a constant level – it’s cheaper than heating a cold property anyway
  • Wipe down damp surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom to keep evaporation down
  • Do not dry clothes indoors without opening a window
  • Check extractor fans regularly – a functioning fan will keep a postcard stuck fast to the grille
  • If clothes are tumble dried, make sure the machine is vented to the outside or is a condensing drier
  • If the home is newly plastered or decorated, putting a dehumidifier in for a few weeks is a good idea as moisture will evaporate as the home dries out

Also, explain to the tenant that if the property is damp-free on hand over, when they return the keys, it should be in the same condition less acceptable wear and tear. If not, money may be retained from the deposit to deal with any damp or mould.

No self-respecting landlord should let a tenant live in a home infested with damp.

Damp and mould are unhealthy and can lead to uncomfortable illnesses, especially in children or the elderly.