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Damp and mould

Damp and mould can cause or worsen respiratory problems, infections, allergies or asthma. It can also affect the immune system, particularly in young children.

Other effects include:

  • contributing to excess heat loss
  • putting up heating bills
  • damaging building fabric and contents, including clothes and furniture

There's lots of information and advice on the Shelter website.

Causes of damp and mould


Condensation is moisture caused by breathing, cooking, washing and drying clothes.

It can also be caused by the design and construction of a building. Your property should be able to cope with normal levels of moisture without the need to open windows or buy dehumidifiers to reduce damp.

Rising damp

Rising damp occurs when a property doesn't have adequate damp proofing or there is a breach in the property's structure. It's caused by moisture rising up in walls.

You can spot rising damp in your home by looking for tide marks or salt stains. This tend to rise around one metre from the ground.

Penetrating damp

Penetrating damp comes from issues on the exterior of a property, for example from its:

  • roof
  • brickwork
  • pointing
  • windows
  • doors

Water can build up inside its walls and cause damp and mould growth if a property isn't kept in good repair.

Penetrating damp can also be caused by internal issues, like when poor sealant around a shower tray allows water to leak into the surrounding walls and ceilings.

How to avoid damp as a landlord

We recommend that you:

  • make sure that the kitchen and bathroom has suitable ventilation
  • provide appropriate background ventilation, like passive air vents, trickle vents on windows etc.
  • give tenants advice on how to manage moisture in the property, like wiping away moisture, using extractor fans, not blocking up passive vents, drying clothes outside and opening windows

You can also increase the energy efficiency of the property's heating and insulation by providing:

  • loft/wall insulation
  • double glazing
  • upgrading heating

Your legal responsibilities as a landlord

As a landlord, you have a legal responsibility to keep the interior and exterior of your property in good repair. This includes:

  • brick work and pointing
  • roof covering
  • rain water goods
  • external waste pipes
  • damp proofing
  • doors and windows

You must carry out repairs in your property. This includes both internal structure and any facilities relating to heating, ventilation, water using appliances and plumbing.

There is more guidance in legislation, such as:

  • Housing Act 2004
  • The Environmental Protection Act 1990
  • Landlord and Tenant Act 1985

You can find more advice about condensation and damp in our booklet.

Download list

It is also available in other languages.

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