EnergyMonthly Advice Column

Dealing with Damp – February Advice Column

Damp and mould is building up in our house as the weather gets colder. Our living
room is the worst and there’s a strong smell, so we’ve stopped having friends round.
We’re also concerned about our health. We’ve reported it to our landlord, but they
haven’t done anything. With six months left on the tenancy agreement, we’re running
out of options. What should we do?

You’ve done the right thing by bringing this to your landlord. To work out if they are
responsible you’ll need to find the cause of the damp and mould, but this can take time
unless there’s a clear cause, like bad insulation or a leaking roof.

Damp is when an area of your property doesn’t dry out, often because it’s cold. The main
types are rising, penetrating, construction, and condensation damp. It can lead to mould,
which is a fungus that grows in areas where warm damp air condenses on cold surfaces, like
window frames. Information on our website can help you work out what type of damp you
have, who is responsible and what you can do. You should also check your tenancy
agreement for mentions of repairs and damp.

Your landlord is responsible for fixing a damp problem if it’s making your home unsafe to live
in. For example, this could be if it’s affecting your health or the health of those you live with.
Your landlord will also be responsible if the damp is related to repairs they should have
carried out, like if the window frames are rotting. They would have to cover the cost of
repairs to any items damaged by the damp, including carpets and furniture.

Condensation is a key cause of damp we’re all familiar with. Keeping homes well-heated and
well-ventilated is the best way to prevent this, but for many of us today, high heating costs
and cold weather are making this very difficult. If you’re finding it hard to insulate and heat
your home, check our website to see if you’re eligible for support.

Always avoid doing anything that can make damp worse, as it may affect whether the
landlord takes responsibility for repairs. O ur website has advice on what to avoid, like drying
clothes on heaters, blocking air vents, or using portable gas heaters.

You may reach the point where you just want to get out of your tenancy agreement early, but
remember this can be very tricky and there might be things you haven’t tried yet.
For example, if your landlord is responsible for the damp in your home but doesn’t do
anything, there are steps you can take, like reporting them to the local authority. And as a
private renter, if you’ve got evidence from a health professional that damp is making you ill,
you may be able to get free legal advice through Legal Aid.

If you’re feeling stuck, always reach out to us for support in the following ways:

You can call our Adviceline on 0800 144 8848

Complete our online form to access support

Attend an in-person drop in session