Controlling damp

Condensation damp can be a complete nightmare to manage but as it is largely caused by the way the house is used from day to day then staying on top of it is down to the tenant to manage. A useful guide has been produced by the Welsh government's Rent Smart Wales programme which covers the best ways to stop condensation damp occurring in the first place, and also the best ways to clean it up if it does happen. A copy of this document can be obtained here - Rent Smart Wales: Controlling Damp.

Moisture in the air comes from day to day use of the house, such as cooking and using the shower and bath, and even from just breathing. At night you breath out several cups of water so think of that being poured onto the walls every night and the scale of the issue is clear. Add the rest of daily life to it and it is the same as pouring two and a half buckets of water into the house every single day - that moisture has to be vented out somewhere or it will condense on cold surfaces or where the air is still and you will start to see damp spotting. The Rent Smart Wales information goes through loads of steps which can be taken to control condensation damp, for example:

  • Not drying clothes indoor on airers or over radiators.
  • When cooking keep the kitchen window open during cooking and for a while afterwards.
  • Keeping the bathroom door closed not just while using the bath or shower but also afterwards as well until the steam is thoroughly gone. The leaflet mentions leaving the extractor fan on for an hour or so, with the door closed, after the shower is used to make sure it is properly ventilated.
  • If windows have trickle-vents (box-like things at the top of the windows) then make sure they are open, otherwise use the part-open setting to vent them if you need to lock them open for a while.
  • With wardrobes and drawers, make sure there is at least a 10cm minimum gap between the wardrobe and the walls.
  • Open windows when ironing.
  • Conversely, don’t over-ventilate in the day in cold weather as this will cool the interior walls too much and then condensation damp will increase. 30 - 60 minutes at a time is best.
  • Don’t use central heating for short periods such as a blast of an hour or so as this will actually make the problem worse, use it for at least three hours at a time. The leaflet has advice on the best times to use it.

The Rent Smart document gives a lot more useful advice on how to control condensation damp and all tenants are recommended to grab it and read it to stay on top of any problem and avoid additional cleaning fees during or at the end of a tenancy. 

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Pets

As I want people to feel that the house they are renting is their home then pets are permitted at all properties. There are some provisions for this which are detailed in the Tenancy Agreement you have and you should have a look at that. In short they are a small increase in the deposit of an additional 50% deposit of the standard one-month deposit, and that damage caused by pets is not subject to the 'fair wear and tear' provisions and must be repaired immediately at the tenant's expense. This does mean not leaving repairs until the end of the tenancy but arranging repairs as soon as any damage happens. 

This increased deposit and requirement for ongoing repair is purely down to experience in the past where one of the tenants in a Tewkesbury house had a dog who seemed to like eating carpets as a nice snack between meals. The result was having to re-carpet almost the entire house thanks to that hungry hound. But if there is no damage then no repairs are needed and you are free to have pets in the houses.

Hopefully this is a fair balance between allowing pets so people can treat the houses as their own, and ensuring any damage arising from it is covered.

I have been asked in the past about pet doors being fitted in the back doors. Contact me if you are thinking about this as the answer will probably be 'yes', subject to an additional stipulation that the tenant pays for the pet door to be installed professionally (as it will probably necessitate the replacement of any lower window panes in the back doors) and that a small extra deposit is also paid for reinstatement of the door at the end of tenancy. Again, this is hopefully fair to the tenant and as pet doors are often rather cold in winter, and will ensure future occupants have unnecessary draughts prevented again.

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Tenancy types and what they mean

All tenancies are on Assured Shorthold Tenancies which is the standard type of tenancy agreement. When a tenancy starts an agreed term will be written into the Agreement, typically two years although longer or shorter can be negotiated. This gives the tenant some security of tenure and also the security of knowing what the rent will be for the duration. 

As the tenancy comes towards its end the Landlord may offer the tenant a new Agreement which will give the tenant renewed security. If a new agreement is not in place at the end then the law says the tenancy becomes a 'statutory periodic tenancy'. The biggest change is that the notice periods for vacating the property are shorter on both sides, with the tenant able to give four week's notice (compared to three months if under the initial agreement period), and the Landlord able to give two months' notice so the tenant has a less secure residence than under an ongoing agreement. Other differences are that under a periodic tenancy the Landlord has more options, subject to following correct procedures, to change the rent or other terms of the tenancy. 

As it is in the Landlord's interest to have a good tenant stay in the house the default position will be to offer the tenant a new Assured Shorthold Tenancy so the tenant has more security which benefits both the tenant and Landlord. 

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Rent Smart Wales Licensing

As one of the rental properties is in Wales and the rental of the house is managed directly by the landlord, it is a requirement of Rent Smart Wales that the landlord be certified and registered. The Landlord has undergone this training and the certificate can be viewed here. The licence application has been submitted and accepted and will be added here when the paperwork arrives. Licence number is #F6-000-70036.

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Landlord contact

Landlord contact details are as per your Tenancy Agreement. Sorry for not putting them here but if I do then within weeks every spammer in the western hemisphere will start bombarding me with crap. Last time I put my contact details on a web page Angelina Jolie seemed to be very concerned about the size of my old chap and kept emailing me about it, which was lovely of her to take the time but got rather excessive.

Tenants have my mobile number and calling or texting is perfectly fine if you wish.

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