WHEN IS DAMP NOT DAMP!

This time of the year we are often phoned by concerned tenants who declare ‘‘we’ve got damp” and demanding that something is done about it. On investigation it is usually discovered to be a condensation problem caused by what are termed ‘lifestyle issues’ (not heating or ventilating the property correctly). Whilst it is easy to just ignore the issue and blame the tenant, this does little to alleviate the situation or reduce the likelihood of a perfectly good tenant leaving at the earliest opportunity. So what can be done? Firstly, education, most Local Authorities in the Portsmouth area produce guidance booklets for Tenants which are seen as impartial advice. These explain the reasons for condensation build up and its consequences, the necessity of adequately heating and ventilate a home, and what to avoid i.e. not drying laundry on radiators or blocking room vents. Secondly, where it is identified that heating, ventilation or insulation is inadequate, these can be improved, quite often with the use of a Local Authority grant, which your tenant may be entitled to. Even if you carry out the work at your own expense, you will find that roof insulation and window ventilators are comparatively inexpensive, and replacing an old heating system can save you considerably on servicing and repair bills in the future. Of course if you think that the problem may be a real damp issue then you should consult a local Chartered Surveyor and the PPA can provide you with a list of suitably qualified members.

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