Shropshire Council

Damp, mould and condensation

Black mould can cause damage to clothes, furniture, decorations as well as causing serious health problems,  particularly to those with breathing problems such as asthma or underlying health issues, as it releases spores into the air which are then breathed in.

If you live in privately rented accommodation you should report damp and mould issues to your landlord, asking them to investigate the reasons why the mould has occurred. This could be a combination of the structure of the property leading to a build-up of condensation on cold surfaces and walls, how the property is used by you and your family or repairs issues.  See later section on condensation, penetrating and rising damp.

Your landlord should then help resolve the issue, but if they refuse or fail to make improvements or repairs, you can contact our Housing Enforcement team  

If you live in a property owned by a Housing Association you should report the issue and allow them to investigate and address the issue. The Housing Enforcement team will not usually get involved unless you have followed your Housing Association’s complaints procedure. If after that you are not satisfied, contact the team

You should take photographs of the affected areas, to show the landlord and the Council what the problem is like, but as it is dangerous to breath in spores from mould, you should follow the guidance below to safely remove the mould.  It is likely to return, but please do not delay in cleaning while the cause is identified, as mould can seriously affect your health.

How to remove black mould

While the issue is investigated and resolved you should clean off mould if it is a relatively minor issue.  If large areas are affected ask your landlord for professional contractors.

Care has to be taken to avoid contact with microscopic mould spores and not to further the spread of spores. In cleaning away mould wear rubber gloves, eye protection and a protective mask which covers your nose and mouth.

Open windows before, during and after the cleaning but close doors to prevent mould spores transferring to other areas of your home.

Do not brush the mould as it releases more spores. Next wipe down affected areas using a disposable cloth with diluted bleach or a fungicidal wash (Always follow the safety instructions on the bottle).

Allow the surface to dry and vacuum the room to remove any mould spores disturbed and transferred during removal, then empty your vacuum cleaner.  Before decorating it is important to understand why the mould has occurred and how to stop it coming back.


During the colder months condensation can become  a problem in many homes. It is caused when warm moist air hits a cold surface such as a window or external wall and condenses, causing mould to develop. This can be made worse if rooms are not adequately heated and ventilated

The water can then soak into paint or plasterwork and in time black mould may grow on the area. It normally happens during colder months and is often found in corners, on cold walls, around windows and where furniture is pushed up against external walls.

Condensation can be greatly reduced by changing what you do in your home.  Drying clothes indoors can add 10 to 15 litres of water a week to the air in your home and just by breathing a family of

four can add moisture to the air equivalent to 30 to 40 litres.  That is why ventilation is so important

Tips to reduce condensation

  • Though fuel costs are increasingly expensive try and keep temperatures at least 18 degrees in main living areas whilst indoors
  • Improve insulation – a privately rented property must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of A-E
  • Don’t block air bricks or air vents
  • Wipe down walls and window frames
  • Dry drying washing outside when possible
  • Try not to dry clothes on radiators. This can cause mould on walls behind radiators
  • Open window trickle vents
  • Close internal doors whilst cooking and open windows.
  • Put lids on pans (this also reduces boiling times and helps save you money)
  • Use an extractor fan if you have one.
  • Only boil as much water as you need in a kettle to reduce steam.
  • Open windows whilst bathing/showering washing and leave them open after, if it’s safe to do so.
  • Take shorter showers
  • Wipe down windows/mirrors/tiles/shower doors or open windows for at least 10 minutes every day.
  • Try and leave a gap between cold walls and furniture to allow airflow
  • If you use a tumble drier, vent it outside or buy a condensing type
  • Use a dehumidifier this will assist with maintaining the humidity levels in the property and reduce excess moisture in the air
  • Run cold water in to a bath before the hot

Penetrating damp

Penetrating damp is found on external walls or ceilings. It appears because of a problem in the building such as

  • Missing or damaged brickwork
  • Cracked rendering
  • Damaged or blocked guttering
  • Missing roof tiles
  • Badly fitting windows or doors
  • Damaged flashing
  • Defective plumbing - leaks

Issues are more noticeable after wet weather.  It is important that the source of the damp is identified and then addressed

Rising damp

Rising damp affects basements or ground floor rooms and usually rises no more than 30-60cms. Black mould can occur,  but there are often white salts and ‘tide marks’ in affected areas. It is caused by water rising from the ground through the brickwork due to a compromised damp proof course. It will be present all year round but may be worse in the winter. If left untreated it can cause plaster to crumble and wallpaper to lift. It is important that cause is identified and then addressed by a contractor.