Damp and Mould Policy

Process Overview


4.1    WHBC will proactively assess the condition of its properties on a rolling programme, including for damp and mould, by conducting surveys. Category 1 and 2 hazards will be captured during these routine stock condition surveys (SCS) carried out by in-house and external surveyors.

4.2    WHBC will also utilise Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) data to understand the extent of vulnerability to damp and mould. EPC data is held in Orchard Assets, along with our Assets data. This will also provide a clear view of the retrofit interventions needed to improve our EPC ratings, and thereby the comfort and efficiency of the home.

4.3    Our investment plans will be reviewed each year against stock condition data, complaint trends, any repeat damp and mould cases and our Asset Grading model, to ensure we address any adverse performance trends etc. This will inform investment programmes such as loft insulation, windows etc.

4.4    Where WHBC undertakes retrofit works to improve performance of the property it will adhere to PAS 2035 principles, thereby ensuring a whole house retrofit approach avoiding the unintended consequence of damp caused by badly planned interventions.

4.5    WHBC will take every opportunity – voids stage, mutual exchanges, tenancy health checks etc. – to proactively address issues driving damp and mould cases.

4.6    We also expect other council staff and contractors that might be visiting council homes or contacting residents, to be aware of and report any damp and mould issues to us. We provide training to raise their awareness of these issues and the need to report them.

4.7    We will regularly review with customers our customer communications regarding damp and mould to ensure it meets the needs of all customer groups and shares lessons learnt.


4.8    When a report of damp, mould or condensation is received, our staff will ask  relevant questions to try to identify possible causes and any vulnerabilities or individual needs of the resident.  Some causes may be obvious – such as leaking gutters or overflows. In these cases, remedial repairs will be ordered in line with our repairing timescales.

4.9    Where the cause is not immediately obvious, a surveyor or Specialist Contractor will visit the home to carry out an inspection.  We will offer an appointment when the resident first reports the issue, within 5 days. We will prioritise cases that are considered urgent within this timescale.

4.10    The purpose of the inspection is to identify the cause of the dampness, for example whether the issue is damp related (e.g. rising or penetrating damp) or condensation related.

4.11    During the visit, findings will be recorded and where a report is produced, a summary of this will be provided to the resident once this is available.

4.12    If the issue is identified as condensation-based, WHBC will provide information and guidance to the resident.  This information will include a discussion on the possible causes of condensation and some solutions that may help. In most cases, once these measures have been in place for a few weeks, the issue is reduced or eliminated.

4.13    If the issue is identified as building related, the remedial works will be identified and scheduled appropriately based on the survey recommendations. The resident is informed of the works that will be undertaken and the timescales.

4.14    For cases where there are repeated reports of damp, mould and condensation and/or where there is a dispute or no resolution; or where the visit identifies so, we may use specialist equipment to identify the cause.

4.15    We will ensure no blame is attached to any damp and mould case and language and actions reflect an appropriate and non-judgemental approach.

4.16    If there is reason to suspect that the damp and mould issue is more widespread than one property, WHBC, will review adjacent or neighbouring properties.

4.17    After a satisfactory conclusion of a damp and mould case we will follow up at the 1 month and 6 month stage to ensure no recurrences.

4.18    A diagram of the process is provided in Appendix 1 (in the 'Review' section).

Types of Damp

4.19    For the purpose of this policy three main types of damp are included, and are defined as Rising Damp, Penetrating Damp and Condensation Damp:

  • Condensation Damp - Condensation occurs when moisture held in warm air comes into contact with a cold surface and then condenses producing water droplets. This can take two main forms:

-    Surface condensation arising when the inner surface of the structure is cooler than the room air.
-    Condensation inside the structure (interstitial) where vapour pressure forces water vapour through porous materials (e.g., walls), which then condenses when it reaches colder conditions within the structure.

  • Rising Damp - The movement of moisture from the ground rising up through the structure of the building through absorption.
  • Penetrating Damp (including internal leaks) - Water penetrating the external structure of the building or internal leaks causing damp, rot and damage to internal surfaces and structure. The cause can be the result of, for example:

-    Water ingress due to defective or poor original design/workmanship of the structure
-    Defective components for example roof coverings, external wall doors and windows
-    Defective or blocked rainwater gutters and pipes
-    Defective or leaking internal waste pipes, hot and cold water and heating systems
-    Flooding due to burst pipes

4.20    The conditions that can increase the risk of condensation are:

  • Inadequate ventilation e.g., natural opening windows and trickle/background vents and mechanical extraction in bathrooms and kitchens
  • Inadequate heating e.g. undersized boilers and radiators, draught stripping
  • Inadequate thermal insulation. e.g., missing, or defective wall and loft insulation
  • High humidity e.g., presence of rising and penetrating damp
  • Poor building design and construction – specific cold areas (bridging) which are integral with the building construction

4.21    The conditions that can lead to condensation are:

  • Poor ventilation – not opening windows, defective fans, blocking up vents not turning on extract fans, not allowing air to circulate around furniture
  • Poor heating – not heating the house, which can be a result of fuel poverty
  • Defective insulation –dislodged insulation in lofts
  • High humidity - not covering pans when cooking and drying laundry inside the house can contribute to this
  • Overcrowding

4.22    Mould is a natural organic compound that develops in damp conditions and will only grow on damp surfaces. This is often noticeable and present in situations where condensation damp is present.