Cold weather, lack of ventilation, and a faulty heating system can cause dampness in your home. The moisture trapped indoors can lead to the growth of mould, a type of fungus that produces spores in vast numbers.
Mould is prevalent in UK homes that are in a bad state of disrepair. Moisture from leaking roofs and water seeping through cracks in walls can create condensation inside your home.
It gets trapped, especially when there is no proper ventilation or when windows are damaged and cannot be opened.
The musty odour that greets you once you enter a home or building is a telltale sign that the structure harbours mould growths.
Most European countries, particularly those that experience extremely cold weather, are vulnerable to mould growth inside poorly ventilated structures or old ones with leaks that have not been fixed for a long time.
Mould health risks
Mould can release spores into the air as it grows, producing mycotoxins that trigger allergies in a good number of people. Exposure to these spores can cause various health issues, especially those with sensitive respiratory systems.
People with prolonged exposure to the spores may experience wheezing, itchy eyes, a stuffy nose, or breathing problems. In extreme cases, an asthma attack can occur.
The Institute of Medicine, in their 2004 research, found out that exposure to mould even indoors can be linked to coughing, wheezing, and upper respiratory tract symptoms. Aside from the patients with asthma, those with hypersensitivity pneumonitis were also affected.
Some adverse health effects of the inhalation of mould spores are bronchitis, chronic rhinosinusitis, and lower respiratory tract issues in children who have never had any illness.
Other conditions listed by the World Health Organization and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) were headache, fever, fatigue, nausea, and sick-building syndrome.
Control and prevention
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), dampness in your home can be avoided by keeping the humidity level below 60%. In the absence of a hygrometer, which measures a room’s humidity level, a dehumidifier can be used to control indoor moisture.
If you rent your home and you are unable to open your windows because of damage, ask your landlord to have them fixed.
If the weather permits, keep them open to allow air to circulate through your home. An extractor fan above your hob can also prevent moisture build-up while you cook.
Avoid storing laundry, bathroom carpets, or any materials while these are still wet as these can trap moisture in the cabinet and cause mould to grow inside. Hang your laundry where there is enough ventilation for moisture not to be trapped in.
Keep your whole house clean and free from moisture. Wipe moisture off the mirror when it fogs up and open up a window or a door for a few minutes.
Make sure the central heating system is switched on or working. If not, let your landlord know about it so he can take action right away.
There are cleaning solutions that prevent mould and mildew buildup. If you have access to these solutions or can find this in the store, use it to clean all surfaces.
In case no mould and mildew cleaner is available, soap and water will suffice. Note that this cleaning procedure is only meant as a temporary solution to a long-standing, deeper problem.
Regularly wiping off the mould with a rag and a cleaning solution is your best bet for temporarily controlling its growth. If you have belongings that show signs of having mould growths, it might be best to just throw them away.
Reporting the problem
Your landlord needs to know about the disrepair in your home so they can send someone to inspect the damaged areas.
Make sure that when you send him the report, you do so through email, complete with photos and videos of all the areas in your home that need to be fixed. The landlord should inform you of the visit 24 hours before their desired schedule.
This way, you will not feel like your privacy has been violated and can prepare the areas that they need to inspect.
Give your landlord 21 days to respond. If they still do not give you feedback, it might be time for you to seek the help of housing disrepair experts at disrepairclaim.co.uk.
Their panel of solicitors can help you make your landlord take action. If they still ignore your repair requests, you can complain to the landlord or property owner if the housing disrepair has affected your health and safety as well as your family’s.
You can claim for housing disrepair compensation for all the trouble that the disrepair has caused you.
About The Author:
Barbara McHugh is a Senior Support Manager at DisrepairClaim.co.uk. DisrepairClaim.co.uk specialises in helping people obtain the compensation they are entitled to when a landlord fails to carry out repairs. They work with expert surveyors from across the country to inspect your home. This ensures repairs are carried out properly and that you receive the maximum amount of compensation possible. They operate on a no-win, no-fee basis and can provide a no-obligation review of your case.