“Black mould”? Someone else’s fault


Guest blog by Richard Lupo, Senior Sustainability Consultant, Sustainable Homes


New research to help landlords and residents understand causes and solutions to condensation issues.

The problem

Damp, mould and condensation continue to affect the health and wellbeing of residents, as well as landlords’ ability to deliver against their duty of care and bottom line.  For residents it can make the home harder to heat and even introduce health issues from mould spores. This may have knock on effects for rent arrears, void periods, legal liability and staff costs.  Some estimates[1] have this at around £40,000 per home. This does not begin to include the misery that affected residents have to endure and NHS costs.

Estimates on how many houses are affected by black mould range from 5% to 24%, with many more suffering condensation issues. But we are still unclear on what causes the problem. Is it poor quality homes?  Bad resident behaviours?  What can be done about them?

Further research needed

We are undertaking research the winter 2016/17 in to tackle some of these questions. We aim to use real data to establish which factors contribute most to condensation and mould problems.  The data will be used to build a “condensation risk” model.  Participants will be able to use the model as a diagnostic tool for affected homes.

We have high ambitions for this research because we want to help tackle this serious problem, whilst at the same time making homes more energy efficient. We are looking for landlords who are interested in taking part. By joining a large study such as this, it will be possible to gather detailed and statistically valid data on a large number of homes of a variety of building types, but sharing the cost across numerous participating landlords.

Join the project

Sustainable Homes carries out research into the areas that are of most value to the housing sector. Over the last few years, we have looked into the impact of feedback on residents’ energy use, the performance gap in existing homes and new builds. Our latest national study Touching the Voids received overwhelming feedback from the sector and was broadly covered in national media.  This is your chance to be involved in national research.

To find out more about our proposed research, register your interest here. We welcome your feedback, so if you have any questions, suggestions or comments, please get in touch with Richard Lupo or Bill Wright. You can also find examples of our previous research here.