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Periodically residents report alleged damp in their flats. While some damp may be due to leaks or rising damp, most cases are due to condensation arising from inadequate ventilation and heating in the flat. Double-glazing may also be a factor, especially on walls which face north and east, and which tend to be colder.

Because so many cases of suspected damp have proved to be due to condensation, the Association will require an inspection by a Chartered Surveyor appointed by the Board should you report damp. If the cause is genuinely due to a fault with the building, SCRA will pay the Surveyor’s fee, and for any recommended work. If, however, it proves to be due to condensation, the resident will be required to pay for the survey.

‘French drains’ have been installed all around Surbiton Court. These are concrete boards placed a few inches away from the base of the walls and the space between the board and the wall filled with shingle. They are designed to ensure that soil does not build up against the walls and wick water past the damp-proof course and higher up the wall, thereby causing rising damp. If you notice these ‘French drains’ filling up with soil or debris, please inform the Board.

In order to prevent condensation, and the resulting damage, please follow the guidelines below.

Wipe dry the water/moisture on windows/windowsills frequently. If you use a cloth, wring it out in the sink: do not put the wet cloth on a radiator to dry. Alternatively, use kitchen roll and dispose of appropriately.

Open the curtains and blinds, and wipe dry your windows and windowsills every morning, as well as surfaces in the kitchen or bathroom that have become wet. Wring out the cloth in a sink rather than drying it on a radiator. Alternatively, use kitchen roll and dispose of in waste bin.

Leave curtains and blinds open during the day to allow air circulation to the windows and frames.

Ventilate your flat by opening windows frequently. If your windows have trickle vents, leave the vents open.

Do not place furniture against outside walls. Leave space between furniture and walls.

Do not overfill wardrobes and cupboards, as it restricts air circulation.

When showering/bathing, open the bathroom window for ventilation and close the door to prevent moisture escaping into the rest of the flat.

When cooking, put lids on saucepans. Close the kitchen door and open the windows for ventilation, or use the extractor fan.

Extractor fans fitted with a humidistat in bathrooms and kitchens will also help to control and/or prevent condensation. A humidistat will automatically exhaust the air when the relative humidity in the room reaches the level set. (They are not generally suitable in bedrooms and lounges, however, because they are not silent running.) Please note that should you wish to install an extractor fan you will need to submit an application to the Board for approval, as any work which involves drilling, etc. to the walls, or fabric of the building, constitutes a structural alteration and cannot be undertaken without prior approval.

Do not place wet or damp clothing, towels, etc. on radiators.

Wet or damp clothing, towels, etc. must not be left in a room with closed windows. If you leave damp clothes, towels, etc. to dry in any room close the door and open the window.

Heating one room to a high level and leaving other rooms cold makes condensation worse in the unheated rooms. That means that it is better to have a medium level of heat throughout the flat. Keeping the heating on at low all day in cold weather will help to control condensation. It will be more economical than having the heating on full blast for several short periods during the day. It will also be cheaper for you than the cost of remedial work resulting from condensation.

Use a dehumidifier. Please note however that a dehumidifier is not an alternative to following the guidelines above, but to be used in conjunction with them.

REMEMBER – Failure to adhere to these guidelines will certainly cause condensation, for which the only cure is adequate heating and effective ventilation.

This page last updated 01 June 2016
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