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Condensation - HELP!!!!

Discussion in 'Windows and Doors' started by WSB, 29 Dec 2017.

  1. WSB

    WSB

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    Hi,

    I let out a 3 bedroom mid-terrace 1965 built house.

    It has UPVC double glazing which is quite old but as far as I'm aware, generally functional.

    The family (2 adults, and 4 small children) are complaining on excessive condensation in the kids bedrooms. The box room in particular suffers quite badly from this.

    Yes, I have told them (currently blue in the face) many times about heating and ventilation but they claim to do all this.

    Aside from the fact they may be bending that truth a fair bit and the fact there's a large number of bodies and associated moisture build up, is there anything I can do to help???

    In the worst room, the condensation is not just on the walls but on the internal side walls (90 degrees to the window). A mate popped round and said that those sections of walls were getting quite cold, hence the increased condensation. Those sections of wall internal and out are solid - no cavities. So I thought maybe, where the window frame sits in place around the outside, there is a cavity, causing the cold walls internally.

    Not sure whether the outside of window frames where they connect to the wall should be insulated with foam or whatever? Ideas?

    I can get those windows changed but to be honest, I've got a feeling that won't make any difference? Opinions?

    At the end of my tether with this now.......

    Want to resolve this issue and help the tenants but I've run out of ideas.

    Problem is, they claim they are heating it enough and ventilating it enough. I've said whatever they're doing isn't enough. Going round in circles.

    Just wanted to know what I can do to help with this???

    Thanks
     
  2. You could try installing a PIV unit, but unless you've got vents in the offending rooms that can't be closed, it may not do much good. I've had these type of tenants myself before, and in the end you have to issue a section 21 notice, and then putting a ventilation clause in the next tenancy agreements, and getting them to read and initial it.

    If the condensation was just on the outside walls, then it could be put down to a lack of insulation/clod walls, but as it's on the internal walls, then it's a lack of heat and more importantly, lack of ventilation issue. But do you have extractors in the bathroom and kitchen.

    If you do fit a PIV unit, then you can fit trickle vent in the current windows, but it's not a windows issue whatsoever, it's a tenant issues without a shadow of a doubt
     
  3. WSB

    WSB

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    Thanks Doggit! Much appreciated.

    To be honest, it was all pretty much what I was thinking.

    There is an extractor in the bathroom that comes on with the light.
    The kitchen however doesn't have an extractor, just a fan window close by. Which probably causes more of the steam to get blown upstairs. Have told them to close the kitchen door but with the little ones running around that's quite tricky for them.

    I was reading up aboput those PIV units which are quite expensive and would just divert the damp to the loft. Also, looked on screwfix at the vents that could be installed but yet again, it's dependant on them using them.

    I feel really frustrated with this at the moment as they are generally good tenants. Always paid on time and do actually keep the place in good shape.

    It's just this condensation issue. Problem is, the bloke just plays dumb, seeming to think a new window would fix everything. The old UPVC windows isn't great but agree that changing it won't make a difference.

    So, unless I can somehow resolve this, what is this section 21 notice?

    Never had to get legal with them before so a bit nervous. Anything I need to look out for?

    As my letting agent gave it all up, my agreement with the tenants has been direct since the current one. I letting agent gave me their copy of the tenancy agreement for me to use with names changed.

    Thanks for all your help.
     
  4. crank39

    crank39

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    Section 21s are alright in theory but the council will tell them to stay put until you serve an eviction notice, this is from my experience of having a landlord of approx 60 houses and very good friend of mine who also has issues with some tenants, the council and the housing department don' work together, it' like they'e the worst of enemies and try and out do the other.

    I would supply a couple of good dehumidifiers and tell them not to turn them off, let them pay for the electric they use and I guarantee once they get the first bill they'll stop draping wet clothes over radiators and ventilate more
     
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  5. WSB

    WSB

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    Thanks crank39.

    Did think about the dehumidifiers but would I get other hassles, being responsible for them etc.? Electrical certs etc?
     
  6. A section 21 notice is a no fault request for the tenants to vacate the property. You have to give them a clear two months notice, so assuming they pay their rent on the 1st of each month, then if you gave the S21 notice on the 30th of this month, then they have to move out by the 28th of February, but if you didn't manage to give it to them till say the 2nd, then they would have to be out by the 31st March.

    Are you a member of any of the landlords associations, such as the RLA or National landlords Association; it costs about £75 a year, but they can help you with advice and new tenancy agreements etc.

    If you click on the blue link on PIV in my last post, you can see they are not that expensive, and just need an electrician to wire it up after you've fitted it. They draw air from the loft (so it needs fresh air to be getting in), and it'll push the fresh air in, and the heavily moist air out of the trickle vents (assuming they don't close them) and they have a small heating element in the so that they can warm the cold air in the winter.

    Just seen Cranks posts, and they'll sit tight if they are housing benefit tenants, but should move (possibly withholding the last rent though) if they're private. A good dehumidifier would cost about half the cost of the PIV unit, but they might realise the true issues after they've emptied it for a week; on the other hand, they might decide it let's them keep the windows closed, and say thank you for the use of it.

    You might have to sit them down, and say sorry, but I think you're being a bit economical with the truth regarding windows and ventilation, and as new windows won't cure the problem, then they can open the windows, accept the problems they're causing, or move. Ask them what research into these issues they've done themselves on the internet.

    Are you up to changing one of the windows in the worst room yourself. That might prove to them that it's not a window issue.
     
  7. WSB

    WSB

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    Thanks again Doggit.
    I wouldn't change the window myself but am tempted to change the worst one (smallest) just to shut them up. Not sure how much a box room window would cost though.
    Another idea was to get cavity wall insulation done as that might help increase the wall temperature.
    Apparently the grant is based on the fuel bill payers. Could be worth a go as well?
     
  8. WSB

    WSB

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    Would I need electrical certs etc for the dehumidifier? Just concerned it'd be another thing I'd be responsible for.
     
  9. It sounds as though they might be on benefits, so they might qualify for CWI, but it's not suitable for every property, so you need to make sure that the company is experienced, and has a solid insurance backed scheme backing it.

    But if it's a lack of ventilation issue, it'll still get problems inside.

    Sorry, not sure about PAT testing for the dehumidifier. I don't need to do them for things like the electric ovens, but they're not portable. If they have the unit for more than a year, then it might need testing; not sure if you could get them to take responsibility for it, or provide it on a temporary basis because you're trying to help resolve an issue.
     
  10. WSB

    WSB

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    Many thanks. My Dad who is retired had it done and his property is very similar although end of terrace. So I think structurally it's fine for that work. Thought if front and back walls are cavity wall insulated some of the walls might be less child therefore less condensate. I know it won't resolve it entirely but other than replacing my tenants with ones capable of understanding and most importantly believing simple physics, then I'm in the game of trying to do all I can to make the best of things. Cheers!
     
  11. Notch7

    Notch7

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    Cavity wall insulation is risky, it could make the problem worse.

    If they are good tenants, it makes sense to try and work out a solution.

    I cant see a new window making much difference, all it will do is have slightly better glass. If the window is pre 2002 then it wont have low e glass, if it is that old you could just change the glass -assuming it is designed to take 24mm or 28mm dgu.

    Can you rule out condensation caused by bathroom or drying clothes?

    Could you fit insulated plasterboard to the problem walls?
     
  12. WSB

    WSB

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    Hmm? The windows are pretty much pre 2002 I'm guessing. Insulated plaster board sounds good though. Pretty sure they are drying clothes in the house. They don't have a tumble dryer.
     
  13. dishman

    dishman

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    The major key to this is that they are drying clothes in the house....in winter....this is the biggest no no....

    You need to make it clear to them that drying clothes inside the house is damaging the property and bad for their health.

    Here is a leaflet that makes it clear how bad living habits can contribute towards condensation.

    http://www.bolton.gov.uk/sites/DocumentCentre/Documents/Condensation and Mould.pdf
     
  14. Going half with them on a tumble dryer may be the cheapest option. You need to talk/confront them really.
     
  15. dishman

    dishman

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    Agree with @Doggit

    You need to come to a agreement, either buying a tumble dryer yourself, or going halves.

    You should look to install a tumble dryer that vents outside. This will help solve the issue (if they use it). If you wanted to get a more energy efficient one, to alay their concerns about cost. Buying one with a heat recovery inbuilt will reduce the usage cost. But, it will be more expensive to buy in the first place.

    Part of the issue is that while tumble dryers are expensive to run, tenants think they cost far more than they do. So I would leave a note on it giving an indication what it would cost per hour.

    A rough guide is that is costs (as an indication only) about 35p per hour.

    Explaining the cost to a tenant will certainly make them more willing to use it.

    I have known tenants take their washing to a laundrette under the impression it was cheaper, when often, it is not.

    Or, as in your case, refuse to use it and then insist on draping their wet clothes around the property which results in condensation and mould
     
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