During Tenancy: Damp

Types of damp and how to recognise them

Property damp is extremely common in properties in the UK and is caused by a number of different reasons. Although common, it is extremely treatable and, in most cases, inexpensive when kept on top of. 

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Damp is the term given to a build-up of moisture in your property. Although the most obvious sign of damp is dark spots in corners of rooms other indications include:

  • A musky, stale smell
  • Cold spots or rooms that are colder than others
  • Increased amount of condensation on cold surfaces such as windows
  • Water-stained wallpaper, usually accompanied by peeling or lifting
  • Flaky, discoloured paint, sometimes with blisters or air bubbles
  • Crumbling plaster when touched
  • Spongey, decaying timber
  • Increased levels of rust around even newly placed metal fixings and fittings
  • Crumbling brickwork or missing mortar between exterior bricks

Depending on the root cause, the type of damp will fall into one of three categories.


This is the damp which is easily treatable and caused by a lack of property ventilation built up over time.

The main cause for condensation is a lack of property ventilation.

Good methods for reducing condensation build up are to wipe down surfaces that collect moisture, dry clothes outside or use a dehumidifier to help reduce moisture. Failure to treat this type of damp can lead to our next category.

This type of damp is a tenant’s responsibility and should be managed by them throughout the lifetime of their tenancy.

Penetrating Damp

This type of damp is from the ingress of moisture through external walls, bleeding through to internal walls and creating damp patches. You will see the damp patches growing horizontally rather than vertically.

Usually caused by a property maintenance issue such as blocked or damaged guttering, the repair can be in-excessive but left untreated penetrating damp can lead to wet rot which is much more severe.

This type of damp is down to the landlord to resolve.

Rising Damp

This damp is caused by water from the ground being drawn up into the walls of the house. This type of issue is one that would be picked up on during a survey report.

The main cause of rising damp is an issue with the property’s damp proof course.

Resolutions for rising damp may require a damp specialist to diagnose and suggest possible repairs or solutions.

This type of damp is down to the landlord to resolve.

There many reasons that lead to damp problems but the fundamental issue is that there is moisture in an area where it cannot evaporate.

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