Student Guide: How to deal with damp

DAMP is a problem which, unfortunately, affects a lot of student houses, so if you are unlucky enough to have it in your home then it’s important to know how to deal with it.

studentguidelogoIf you can spot it before you move in then you can avoid a lot of problems, so keep a close eye out when viewing houses. Signs to look out for are peeling or bubbly looking wallpaper or paint; plaster that looks discoloured near floor level; a lot of condensation on windows – particularly if it’s not actually that cold outside; and mould around window frames or in ceiling corners, especially black or green mould.

If you do end up living in a house with damp though, it’s not the end of the world. Just make sure you don’t let your landlord fob you off with excuses – damp can make you very unwell, so it’s important to deal with it quickly.

If you’ve got a little bit of black mould around the window frames, and your clothes aren’t drying properly, then make sure you’re ventilating the house properly. Open the windows at night a little bit if it isn’t too cold – or if not then open them first thing in the morning to clear the condensation. If your house is too cold you’ll get a lot of condensation on windows, so try not to be too stingy with the heating – it’s better to spend a little more on bills than end up with a chest infection. Mould remover (you can get it in Poundland) is great for this black mould, and should stop it coming back – just make sure to ventilate the room well, as it has chlorine in it.

If you have rising or penetrating damp, or any more than a little black mould around the window frame, then it’s time to contact your landlord. They have a responsibility to treat the problem, and make sure it doesn’t come back. Penetrating damp – where there’s a leak somewhere – is pretty easy to fix, although rising damp (it appears to rise up walls) is harder, as it comes from below ground. Regardless, you have a legal right to have your home kept in good repair by your landlord so make sure you report any problems to them, and to Environmental Health if they won’t fix the problem. Most landlords are pretty quick with fixing major problems, so hopefully your damp issues will be sorted in no time.