Damp and Mould – Our approach

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Our policy

Jigsaw Homes Group will:

  • Provide dry, warm, healthy and safe homes for our residents which are free from any hazards.
  • Comply with legislative, regulatory and contractual (including tenancy and lease) obligations.
  • Ensure the fabric of our homes is protected from deterioration and damage resulting from damp.
  • Treat residents reporting damp and mould with empathy and respect and not prejudge the reason for any issue.
Preventative action

We have a proactive approach in identifying homes that have, or may be at risk of developing, problems with damp and mould. Using data on our homes and households, we can better understand the risk in relation to damp and mould.

When we undertake works to improve the energy efficiency of our homes, for example by installing loft insulation, we will make any adjustments necessary to reduce the risk of condensation and mould build up.

When a property becomes vacant, and prior to re‐letting, we will try to identify and remedy any issues which may cause damp. This may include:

  • ensuring doors and windows are serviceable and can effectively ventilate the property
  • ensuring extractor fans are working well
  • applying mould treatments where necessary.

To help raise awareness about the causes of damp and mould, information is available on our website, and through other channels.  It includes details about how everyday activities in the home can generate condensation and what residents can do to help prevent damp through, for instance, ventilation, controlling the build up of moisture and adequate heating.

In homes where there is mould growth, Jigsaw will provide advice on how this could be treated and/or take appropriate and proportionate action to remedy.

Our employees and technicians have the skills and knowledge to identify signs of damp and mould.  Where it is as a result of general use of the home, they can discuss with our residents how they can help manage the problem.

As part of our efforts to identify damp and mould, our employees and technicians look out for signs whenever they visit a resident’s home.  They can then report it using their hand held device.

Dealing with Damp and Mould

Jigsaw encourages residents to report any problems with damp and mould as soon as possible.

When we are notified of a problem through our customer contact service, our employees are trained to determine the severity and type of issue affecting the resident and their home. This will determine the next steps in dealing with it including:

  • raising a repair
  • raising an inspection or
  • providing advice.

If the issue is relatively minor and the resident is given advice, they will be encouraged to call back after two weeks to let us know if the problem persists or is getting worse.  If the resident does not call back, a trained member of our team will call them within four weeks to establish if the problem has been resolved. If the problem persists, an inspection will be arranged.

Sometimes finding out what is causing damp and mould is not always straightforward and could be due to a combination of factors. Any repairs that are required to be carried out will be dealt with in accordance with our Responsive Repairs Procedure and Planned Maintenance Procedure.

Where damp is a result of condensation, we will work with our residents to take appropriate measures to prevent the damp and mould occurring. This might include advice about how to control moisture levels or increase ventilation or heating, so that damp levels are kept low.

In circumstances where a particularly severe or recurring damp or mould issue is identified, Jigsaw will undertake a comprehensive assessment which might result in a range of actions to support the resident depending on their circumstances.  This may include, funding and providing dehumidifiers, the installation of positive pressure ventilation, mechanical or passive ventilation systems, dry lining walls or applying mould resistant coverings, as appropriate, on a case by case basis.

Residents will be kept informed of any property inspections, diagnosis of issues and the timetabling of work, where these are required. This includes details of the work to be done and why it is necessary.  If anything changes with the programme of work, residents will be notified.

We will give residents advice on how to prevent damp and what they should do to remove mould. However, we recognise that not every resident will be in a position to resolve damp and mould themselves. We will provide appropriate support in such cases based on the specific circumstances and the individual customer’s needs through our Tenancy Matters Team.

We understand that some residents cannot afford to heat their homes adequately due to their income.  Our dedicated Money Advice Team is on hand to work with those residents and ensure that they are receiving the income to which they are entitled.

Where homes are overcrowded, humidity will tend to be higher.  This in turn increases the likelihood of condensation. Jigsaw will work with the household and explore solutions which may include moving to a more suitable home, if this is available and appropriate to their circumstances.

Causes of Damp and Mould

Mould is a type of fungus. It spreads through spores, which are invisible to the naked eye but are in the air around us all of the time and can quickly grow on surfaces where dampness persists or water has formed into a visible covering.

Dampness is an excess of moisture that cannot escape from a structure.  If left, it can lead to further significant property damage.  There are four main causes of dampness. It is important to understand the difference between them because they each need different solutions:

  1. Water leaks from defective supply and waste pipework (especially in bathrooms and kitchens) can affect both external and internal walls and ceilings. The affected area looks and feels damp to the touch and stays damp regardless of the prevailing weather conditions. It is the result of a problem or fault with the home, which requires repair.
  2. Rising damp is caused by water rising from the ground into the home. Water gets through or around a defective damp proof course (DPC) or passes through the masonry that was built without a DPC. Rising damp will only affect basements and ground floor rooms. It will be present all year round but can be more noticeable in winter. It is uncommon but is generally the result of a problem or fault with the home, which requires repair.
  3. Penetrating damp appears because of a defect in the structure of the home, such as damaged brickwork, missing roof tiles, loose flashing or leaking rainwater goods.  These defects allow water to pass from the outside to the floors, walls or ceilings.  Penetrating damp is far more noticeable following a period of rainfall and will normally appear as a well‐defined ’damp‐patch’ which looks and feels damp to the touch. It is the result of a problem or fault with the home, which requires a repair.
  4. Condensation is the most prevalent type of dampness and is caused by moisture in the air (water vapour) inside the home, coming into contact with a colder surface, such as a window or wall.  This moisture develops through everyday activities such as cooking and drying clothes. The drop in temperature causes liquid water to form on the surface and then soak in. It is usually found in kitchens, bathrooms, the corners of rooms, on north facing walls and on or near windows ‐ all places that either tend to have a lot of moisture in the air, or to be cold generally. It is also found in areas of low air circulation such as behind wardrobes and beds, especially when they are pushed up against external walls. All homes in England can be affected by condensation because the climate is often cool and wet. Normal household activities also constantly release moisture into the air. Good practice in the home minimises and alleviates condensation, and in many cases will prevent it causing dampness and persistent mould. However the root cause can be a problem that requires a repair or an improvement to the home. In others, a different solution may be needed (for example, in cases of severe overcrowding).
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