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How to keep condensation to a minimum in your rental properties

Tue 05 Mar 2019

As a landlord, you want to supply tenants with rental properties in the best possible condition. You’ll also improve your chances of filling your homes with ease if they look the part and are well-maintained.

This won’t be the case if you allow condensation to fester into a significant issue. Cooking, cranking up the heating, using the shower and doing the laundry can all cause issues with condensation, which can in turn – if allowed to persist – lead to issues with damp and mould forming on interior surfaces and even furnishings.

Damp and mould aren’t merely unpleasant to look at, they can also be a potential health hazard and put prospective tenants off your property. They can also be costly and stubborn to remove, which could lead to unwanted stress and expensive maintenance. 

In other words, it’s something you want to avoid at all costs. To make this so, it’s a good idea to offer your tenants a few reminders of how they can keep condensation at bay.

Cooking up a steam

Condensation is caused when steam or water vapour comes into contact with cold surfaces like walls, ceilings and windows, something that is much more likely to occur while tenants are cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

In fact, the kitchen - where lots of pots and pans are often bubbling away, as well as ovens being turned on and kettles boiled - is a prime candidate for high levels of condensation.

To prevent this from being a problem, ask tenants to leave the lids on saucepans while cooking rice, pasta and veg, and also ask them to turn the extractor fan on when they are boiling, frying, pan-frying or steaming anything on the hob.

Equally, if your rental home has a self-contained kitchen, ask them to keep the kitchen door closed while cooking to prevent steam from escaping into other rooms. As well as flicking on the extractor fan, opening a small window in the kitchen can also help to keep condensation at bay.

Heating the home

Despite the recent very warm snap (which even led to unprecedented wildfires in Scotland in February), the temperature at this time of the year can still drop and there will probably still be calls for the heating to be on – especially early in the morning and during the evening.

The heating will cause the inside of your home to warm up, which – when it meets the colder external walls and windows – will see condensation starting to form. To reduce the chances of this happening, get tenants to turn the thermostat down a few degrees and make sure windows are slightly ajar to enable air to circulate.

A hot home where no air from the outside is allowed in is the perfect breeding ground for condensation and the issues this causes, so try to ensure your rental home is at a sensible temperature rather than being too hot or too cold – which are both liable to cause issues for you and your tenants. 

If your rental home is a shared one with a healthy number of people in it, or if you let to a large family, condensation might be more of an issue thanks to the sheer number of bodies in the property, which will make living areas warmer (and increase the likelihood of condensation).

If your rental property has a number of people living there, you may want to be extra vigilant in pointing out the possible consequences of condensation to them.

Washing and drying clothes

One of the biggest causes of condensation, because of all the moisture it creates, is tenants doing their laundry. Of course, washing isn’t something that can be avoided, but there are steps that can be taken to mitigate its impact, especially in the winter and spring months, where hanging clothes outside is much less feasible.

If possible, advise your tenants to avoid drying their clothes indoors, particularly on radiators. In reality, of course, there is little choice but to dry clothes indoors when it’s colder and wetter outside, so the best way round this is for tenants to hang their clothes in one room (both heated and well-ventilated) with the door firmly shut.

Meanwhile, if your rental home includes a tumble dryer, ensure the venting duct leads outside. Unless, that is, it’s a self-condensing dryer.

Taking these steps should allow tenants to do their laundry without major issues with condensation.

Keeping the bathroom fresh

The bathroom is another prime candidate for high levels of condensation, given the moisture, water vapour and steam created by hot baths and showers taking place in a confined space, with often little to no ventilation.

Most bathrooms will have an extractor fan, so you should encourage your tenants to use this when showering and bathing to prevent the formation of damp and mould spots. If your home doesn’t have an extractor fan, ask tenants to leave a window open to allow steam an effective escape route.

What’s more, it’s a wise move to keep the bathroom door shut at all times to prevent excess moisture from circulating throughout the rental property.

Encouraging tenants to carry out the above steps should help to keep condensation to a minimum in your rental homes, saving you the hassle and cost of dealing with the issues it could cause.

At Letting Solutions – West Lothian’s first dedicated lettings agency – we have the knowhow and expertise to help you get the absolute most from your rental properties. We can work closely with tenants to help ensure that condensation and the subsequent issues it leads to are not a problem for you.

For more information about what we can do for you, please contact us on 01506 496 006.

We also offer free and instant online valuations to give you an idea of how much you could be charging in rent each month.

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