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Dealing with damp and mould

What you need to know

You can read our information and damp and mould leaflet (PDF) [357KB] on how to reduce dump and mould in properties.

Read our  damp and mould action plan (PDF) [733KB] . It sets out how we will deal with damp and mould in the short term and long term.

If you have followed the advice on treating mould, or you can't follow the advice because of an issue such as the heating not working, or broken extractor fans, then contact your home provider (landlord, lettings agent or council). You'll need to:

  • clearly describe the problem
  • ask them to investigate and do the necessary repairs or improvements
  • do this in writing in case you need to prove that they knew about the problem at a later date. Provide photographs of the mould if you can
  • continue paying your rent. Do not stop paying your rent, this could put you at risk of being served an eviction notice

If your home provider does not investigate or do the necessary repairs within a reasonable time period, you may want to contact the Private Sector Housing team for further advice. You can do so by using our report damp and mould online form. You address must be within Guildford Borough.



If you're having problems with damp and mould, follow our advice below. If problems continue, and you rent your property, we can investigate this further.

There are three main causes of damp in a property.

Rising damp

Rising damp happens when there is a missing or defective damp proof. This lets moisture from the ground rise up into the property. Rising damp usually appears at low levels along external walls.

If there is rising damp there may be white powdery coating to the wall. The edges of the affected areas normally have tide-marks that are brown in colour.

Penetrating damp

Penetrating damp usually happens when there's water coming in through the walls. This is caused by structural problems such as faulty guttering or roofing.

This normally shows as brown patches on walls, ceilings and floors and may darken after heavy rainfall. 


Condensation is the most common form of damp. It's not normally a building fault. It's caused by moist air inside the property which condenses on walls and surfaces.

Condensation is most likely to appear in cold or poorly ventilated properties. Homes heated at different times are more likely to suffer with condensation problems. Continuous heating keeps the surfaces of the rooms warm. This reduces the risk of condensation forming on them.

Normal daily activities such as:

  • taking showers and baths
  • washing
  • drying clothes
  • cooking
  • boiling kettles

produce warm air which could lead to condensation.

Controlling condensation

To control condensation you can: 

✔ put lids on saucepans while you're cooking to reduce steam

✔ avoid drying clothes on a radiator. If you need to dry clothes indoors, open the window and close the door of the room where the clothes are drying. This means moisture can escape outside rather than circulate around your home

✔ while cooking, bathing or washing, use an extractor fan or open a window, and keep the door closed. Keep the extractor fan on or the window open for about 20 minutes after you have finished (with the door closed)

✔ when condensation appears, wipe it away

✔ during cold weather it is better to leave the heating on during the day for an even temperature. The temperature can be set a few degrees lower while you are out and turned up when you return

✔ any rooms you do not use regularly should still be heated to avoid cold areas


If you notice mould growing in your home, you can treat it with a suitable fungicidal wash (available from most DIY stores). Keep checking the affected area for at least a week. If the mould reappears, wash it down again with the fungicidal wash to make sure the area is thoroughly sterilised.

When redecorating, use a fungicidal paint to help prevent mould growth from returning.


Report damp and mould

This form will guide you through reporting damp or mould in a property. 

Report damp and mould