More than a fifth of UK homes are suffering from damp

Recent results have shown rising energy costs have exacerbated the issue, as people stop heating their homes to save money

Alice Hughes
Friday 03 February 2023 20:46 GMT
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Tenants say they have tried everything from anti–mould spray, dehumidifiers and portable heaters to tackle mold and damp
Tenants say they have tried everything from anti–mould spray, dehumidifiers and portable heaters to tackle mold and damp (Matthew Lofthouse / SWNS)

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A study of 2,000 adults found 24 per cent have found mould in their property and 21 per cent are currently living with damp.

While 20 per cent regularly endure “excessive” condensation.

A further 42 per cent have reduced the amount they heat their home this winter due to the rising cost of energy – exacerbating the issue.

Among the most common surfaces to be affected are windows (65 per cent), walls (61 per cent), and ceilings (43 per cent).

Despite it being such a big problem, 24 per cent are not confident they truly know why the likes of condensation, damp or mould occur.

And a third struggle when it comes to reducing or removing such problems.

As a result, those polled have ventilated areas when drying clothes indoors (34 per cent), kept lids on pans when cooking (29 per cent), and opened windows at night (23 per cent).

Others have invested in anti-mould spray (36 per cent), dehumidifiers (36 per cent), and portable heaters (16 per cent).

With 71 per cent having spent money in an effort to get rid of dampness, condensation, or mould in the past 18 months – an average of £92.

This is almost a quarter (23 per cent) of the £400 energy support households received from the Government.

A spokesperson for Utilita Energy, which commissioned the study, said: “This latest research confirms the size of the problem.

“Affording to stay warm is hard enough as it is, without all the additional problems that come with having a damp home.”

“Our nationwide rollout of free Bill Buster sessions has enabled us to hear first-hand from households who are struggling with various issues related to the cost of energy, condensation and damp were a common theme."

The study also found renters seem to suffer more, with 34 per cent of them living with mould – compared to 22 per cent of homeowners.

While 27 per cent of renters are suffering from dampness, in contrast, to19 per cent of owners.

More than a third of tenants (35 per cent) reached out to their landlord for help or advice, and only for 44 per cent to not hear back.

This left them feeling frustrated (69 per cent) and helpless (43 per cent).

It also emerged three quarters do not know their legal rights as a renter when it comes to damp.

A fifth (21 per cent) of everyone polled have struggled with condensation in the past 12 months more than ever before.

And 44 per cent believe if increasing costs continue everyone will experience a similar issue at some point.

More than half (61 per cent) don’t think there has been enough help from the likes of the Government or councils to assist in the rising cost of energy this winter.

As a result of condensation specifically, 25 per cent have been forced to throw away soft furnishings such as cushions or blinds.

While 23 per cent have had to replace clothes and 12 per cent have even relocated for good.

Common ways to resolve the issue were wiping down surfaces to remove it (60 per cent) and placing a heater near the affected area (22 per cent).

While 19 per cent have even called in an expert to help.

More than three quarters (79 per cent) polled via OnePoll aren’t aware of grants are available so they can improve their property to avoid dampness, condensation and mould.

Utilita Energy’s spokesperson added: “Being a specialist Smart PAYG energy provider, around 75 per cent of our customer base are tenants, hence this awareness campaign.

“We hope landlords will take notice and be more forthcoming with support to avoid long-term damage.”

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