Manage damp and mould

Dampness can occur in homes for many reasons. It can lead to mould and mites, problems keeping your home warm and damage to the building.

Condensation and mould are widespread concerns throughout the country.

Reading Borough Council takes this really seriously and will always work with you to manage any issues that arise in your home with damp and mould. As a landlord, it is important that we understand which of our properties are affected to be able to take the necessary actions.

As a tenant, it is important that you follow the guidance below on avoiding condensation in the home and dealing with damp and mould if it does occur, and to report any defects to us.

On this page:


When air gets colder it holds less moisture and this makes tiny drops of water form. Condensation usually happens in cold weather on both wet and dry days. It occurs on cold surfaces and in areas with little air movement. Signs of condensation include:

  • water forming on windows
  • mould growth on window frames
  • damp and mould forming on external walls
  • mould forming in areas behind large pieces of furniture
  • mouldy soft furnishings and clothes
  • mould growing in corners of rooms and where walls and ceilings meet

There is also a type of condensation called interstitial condensation. This happens when warm, moist air soaks into a wall, ceiling or floor before hitting a cold surface within. The air quickly cools and water is left as dampness on the surface. This can look like rising damp. Interstitial condensation can lead to rot and corrosion.

Avoiding condensation

Produce less moisture by:

  • drying washing outside – if you need to dry clothes indoors, do it this in the bathroom with the extractor fan on or a window open. If your extractor fan is not working report via request a repair.
  • venting non-condenser tumble dryers to the outside
  • opening the window to allow moist air to escape after a bath or shower

It is also important to ventilate your home without causing draughts. You can do this by:

  • opening a window of the room you are using a small amount
  • using a cooker hood that vents to the outside
  • do not block or completely cover ventilation points or chimneys (fit an air brick with a louvred grill)
  • ventilate cupboards and wardrobes – either by cutting a slot in the back or leaving a gap between the furniture and the wall

Keeping your home warm will also reduce condensation. You can do this by fitting insulation and draught excluders.

See the below video for guidance on keeping your house heated and insulated:

Causes of damp

There are many causes of damp, including:

  • leaking pipes and overflows
  • rain water entering through holes in the roof
  • blocked or damaged guttering
  • rising damp caused by a defective or missing damp course
  • gaps in the external walls or around the windows
  • in newly built homes, water used in construction may still be drying out

These problems often leave a tide mark or coloured stains on walls and ceilings. The cause of the damp should be reported as soon as possible.

Dealing with existing damp and mould

To control mould growth, wipe surfaces with a fungicidal wash, dry clean mildewed clothes and shampoo carpets. Do not brush mould as this releases spores into the air. Remove excess moisture from your home – wipe water off windows and surfaces as it forms or use a dehumidifier. Keep the property warm and ventilated.

If you are worried about damp and mould in your home, please contact :

Housing & Energy Support Team
Tel: 01189373747

Last updated on 29/05/2024