Your Property Manager’s top tips on… dampness
Nothing is yuckier than a mouldy home. It’s unhealthy for tenants, makes your place hard to let, and speeds up the deterioration of your valuable asset. Now, there’s more legal impetus to sort out the health of your property, as the Government has introduced new insulation requirements on landlords.
Some facts about dampness…
- Households can produce around 10 to 12 litres of water per day. If this is accompanied with poor insulation, poor ventilation or drainage issues, the home will be damp.
- Damp houses are harder to heat.
- Moisture causes condensation, leading to mould, mildew and dust mites – which aggravate allergies and asthma
- Excess moisture also causes timber to rot, paint to peel and damage to soft furnishings.
Smart ideas to stop dampness
First, work out the cause. If dampness is the main concern, the source of moisture needs to be addressed before other issues are considered. As well as issues with the property itself, your tenants’ behaviour may be a cause of dampness inside, so it’s important to work alongside them.
- Educate tenants; encourage them to open windows regularly to increase airflow.
- Encourage tenants to avoid using unflued gas heaters
- Supply tenants with a dehumidifier (although they may baulk at the running costs!)
- Install extractor fans (ducted to the outside) over the cooktop and in the bathroom
- Vent the clothes dryer to the outdoors
- Install security locks on windows so they can be left open safely during the day OR have trickle vents inserted into windows
- Fix any leaks in the roof, spouting and windows;
- Ensure drainage systems are diverting water away from the house
- Check the ground under the house is dry – cover with polythene if wet
- Check all spouting and downpipes are operating
- If tenants are reluctant to leave windows open for security reasons, consider installing a home ventilation system. There are many systems on the market, and these can be chosen to suit all budgets.
What you need to know about insulation
As well as being dry, the other component to a healthy home is warmth. This is where insulation is key. The Government has just enacted changes to the Residential Tenancies Act which place new obligations on landlords. What do you need to do?
- You must include an Insulation Statement on all tenancy agreements signed since 1 July 2016. This should state where the home has insulation, and its type and condition.
- You must insulate your rental home where practicable – ceiling and underfloor – by 1 July 2019.
It’s a good idea to be ahead of the game and if your home is under-insulated, tackle it now. As a start, we recommend you:
- Check ceiling insulation – it should be dry, meet all current standards and be gap free
- Remove open-vented downlights or replace with new downlights (older models compromise the effectiveness of insulation as they can’t be insulated around)
- Fit under floor insulation.
If your property was built before 2,000 and your tenant has a Community Services Card, you could be eligible for some Government funding to help towards the cost of insulating. Your local council may also offer support through rates.
Your POINT Property Manager is up to speed on all the legal changes, as well as what you need to know to keep your tenants warm and healthy, and your property damp-free. Please get in touch any time if you would like advice.
Source – EECA Energywise. (2017). Dampness.