Britain is in the grip of a new mould crisis, a leading property has warned. It comes as bed bugs could becoming to a duvet near you soon.
Jonathan Rolande says he is seeing more and more cases of mould infestations inside properties.
And with winter approaching, Mr Rolande, the founder of House Buy Fast, warned the problem is going to get worse.
His warning comes amid fears bedbugs are also becoming a rising issue for many homeowners and renters.
He said:“Damp and mouldy homes don’t just make life a misery – they put lives at risk. I fear the cost of living crisis is only making this issue more acute. I am seeing more and more cases of this at the moment in properties I am viewing and in pictures shared with me by colleagues in the industry.”
Explaining the main reasons properties suffer with dampness, Mr Rolande said: “Rain is a massive contributory factor. This can enter the home through a porous external wall or because of defective guttering or roofing. Once it has penetrated it soaks into insulation and plasterwork. This is a perfect environment for mould to grow. The UK is experiencing increasing amounts of torrential rainfall.
“Rising damp is a problem too. A more unusual cause as most properties built after 1930 have an adequate damp proof course (DPC) to stop moisture from the ground from entering the home. However, the DPC can be breached if soil or paving is built up around the outside walls.
“Condensation often creates damp as well. We all experience condensation in our homes when cooking or after a shower. Good ventilation is key, moisture has to be allowed to escape. Many people don’t ventilate adequately in an effort to preserve warmth in the home.”
“Act fast, dampness doesn’t fix itself. Try to establish the cause. Advise your landlord or get a builder/surveyor if you’re unsure of anything.
You should start by checking what kind of damp it is. Rising damp won’t go more than a metre above ground level. Rain can get in anywhere so check the walls for cracks, look at whether gutters and downpipes are clear. And check if there are any tiles missing. Joints around chimneys and flashing (usually grey lead) are common causes of damp too.
“Look at whether your home is too well insulated. Can fresh air get in? Can moisture escape? You may be causing condensation problems. Reduce it by opening windows, especially when cooking/bathing. Use lids on pans when you cook. Don’t dry clothes indoors. Check vents and chimneys haven’t been blocked. Use a dehumidifier and see how much is collected.
“To remove mould, wipe with a cloth and use a mild bleach solution but always investigate the reason it’s there. If you feel your landlord isn’t taking it seriously, put the issue in writing and include photographs. If you suspect condensation may be the issue, take steps to reduce it and inform your landlord of this as well – if the dampness persists, it is likely to be an issue with the building.
“In regard to other ways to reduce condensation so you’re not wasting energy, moisture traps work well and are cheap to buy. Some plants such as palms also absorb moisture and look nice too, but the effect is limited.
“Ensure there are no leaks from pipes, the roof or through the walls – defective pointing between the bricks is very common and can add to the problem. Consider positive input ventilation too, although it is pricey. Should you turn the heating on as well? I’d recommend it if you can. A heated home is certainly less damp.
“And finally remember though that any case of mould can be different. Although these steps will hopefully help, you could still experience issues. If that’s the case there may be a structural issue causing it – and you should seek professional advice. If your home is rented make sure you speak to your landlord. A sensible landlord will want to deal with the problem not just to make life better for you – but for the long term sake of the property they own as well.”