Damp and Mould Advice
Hackney Council and the City of London Corporation take the issues with damp and mould
very seriously and are redoubling efforts to tackle the issue – not just in its own properties but
also for those living in the homes managed by other social landlords and those renting
Last year the Mayor of Hackney announced an action plan for tackling the issue.
Condensation is a key cause of damp and mould and the main time for the issue to build up
is over the winter. This is why it is important that as health professionals we help play our
part during this period by:
- Knowing what signs to look for regarding potential health conditions caused by damp and mould
- Signposting residents to sources of information, advice and support about prevention and treatment of damp and mould
- Being aware of who to report any concerns to.
What is mould and what causes it?
Mould is a type of fungi that can grow both indoors and outdoors. A key cause of damp and
mould is condensation which can be caused by everyday living and occurs when excess
warm moisture in the air comes into contact with cooler air or a cold surface. Everyday
activities such as cooking, showering/bathing and drying clothes indoors can cause
Damp in walls and ceilings can be caused by condensation. But there are other causes of damp, such as:
- leaking internal and external pipes
- Rising damp – moisture from the ground into the walls of buildings which results in
structural damage (this only appears at ground level and is usually seen by a damp
patch above the skirting board)
- penetrating damp – is generally caused by a problem with the building, allowing rain
water to penetrate through into the home; it can affect roofs, doors, ceilings and walls
and, unlike rising damp, can happen at any level
- cold bridging – is where, due to the design of the building, there are specific cold
spots created, for example a concrete floor extends out to an external concrete
Health conditions linked to damp & mould
Moulds produce allergens (substances that can cause an allergic reaction), irritants and,
sometimes, toxic substances.
Inhaling or touching mould spores may cause an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, a
runny nose, red eyes and skin rash. Moulds can also cause respiratory problems and
infections and asthma attacks. There is some evidence that damp and mould can also
affect your immune system.
Individuals who may be most vulnerable to the health risks from damp and mould are:
people with pre-existing respiratory conditions (including asthma and COPD)
- people with cardiovascular disease
- people with allergies
- pregnant women and their unborn babies
- children under 5 years of age
- people over 65 years of age
- people with skin conditions (e.g. eczema)
- people living in poor quality housing and/or poverty
- people exposed to tobacco smoke in their homes.
Mould needs to be killed in order to remove it. To do this, people can wipe down affected areas with a specialist mould spray instead of using products like bleach or washing up liquid as they do not kill the mould effectively.
- Mould spray can be purchased from most supermarkets and hardware shops.
- When using any mould spray, people should follow the manufacturer’s instructions
and check that it carries a Health and Safety Executive approved number.
- Try to avoid disturbing mould by brushing or vacuuming because this can increase
the risk of breathing problems.
- People should treat any mould they may already have in their home then do what
they can to reduce condensation. This will restrict new mould growth.
- Throw away any cloths used to clean the mould.
- Clothes that have mould growing on them should be dry cleaned and carpets with
mould on them should be shampooed.
After treatment, if redecorating is needed, use a good quality fungicidal paint to help prevent
mould recurring. But don’t paint or wallpaper over this paint as that makes it ineffective.
As condensation can be caused by a range of everyday activities there are some simple
steps that people can take to help prevent it building up
Stop moisture building up
- Wipe down surfaces where moisture settles.
- Cover boiling pans when cooking.
- When cooking, bathing or washing and drying clothes, close kitchen and bathroom
doors to prevent steam going into colder rooms, even after you have finished.
- Cover fish tanks to stop the water evaporating into the air.
- Try not to dry clothes directly on radiators as this can produce extra moisture.
- Avoid using paraffin or portable gas heaters as these add moisture to the air.
Ventilate or air your home
- Open windows or vents for a while each day.
- When cooking or washing, open windows a small amount or leave extractor fans on
as they help to remove moisture.
Damp and Mould – information
What to to look out for and who to contact
- It’s important not to remove fuses from any extractor fans installed in your home.
- Where drying clothes inside is necessary, it’s best to do so in a small room with
windows open, doors closed and any extractor fans turned on.
- It’s important not to block air vents as these are needed to ensure appliances work
effectively and safely.
- Blocking air vents is likely to increase moisture and can also increase the risk of
carbon monoxide in the home.
- Allow air to circulate around furniture and in cupboards to avoid mould build up – you
can do this by making sure cupboards and wardrobes aren’t overfilled and there is
space between the furniture and the wall.
Keep your home warm
- Draught proofing will keep your home warmer – and help reduce fuel bills.
- When the property is warmer, condensation is less likely to form.
- Maintain a low heat when the weather is cold or wet – this is more effective than
short bursts of high heat.
- The recommended room temperature for heating your home is 18 degrees in general
– 21 degrees for older residents, households with children under five and anyone with
health conditions that make them vulnerable to the cold.
- it’s important to avoid draught proofing rooms where there is condensation or mould
- If you don’t have heating in every room then open doors to these rooms and let the
A Handy Leaflet has been developed for the Council’s repairs team that provides residents
with this information. The information, together with a video, can also be found at
Reporting Leaks, Damp and Mould in Hackney
Hackney Council managed homes
Leaks are one of the common causes of damp and mould and tackling them early can help
prevent the issue spreading or potentially causing issues in neighbouring homes.
All leaks reported in Hackney Council homes across the borough are now being visited by a
plumber by at least the end of the following day as part of the Council’s commitment to
tackling damp and mould.
To report a leak, contact the council’s repairs centre on 0208 356 3691 as soon as possible
so that a visit can be scheduled. If the call is outside of normal office hours it will be dealt
with in the same way by the Council’s emergency repairs team.
All reports of damp and mould will be inspected within five days.
Council tenants can report a repair online at https://hackney.gov.uk/repairs#online at a time
convenient for them.
Private rented homes
If you live in a privately rented property and are having issues with your landlord about
tackling damp and mould, please either email firstname.lastname@example.org or call
0208 356 4866 to get the issue investigated and resolved.
Reporting Leaks, Damp and Mould in the City
Please try and report suspected condensation/damp mould issues as soon as possible.
- If the repairs team can identify the root cause (for example, a leak) easily over the
phone, they will arrange a repair.
- Wherever possible, the repairs team will inspect within 5 working days (subject to
access) to identify the possible causes and associated remedial works.
- Remedial works will be completed within seven working days of an order being
- The repairs team will also discuss the matter with the tenants, providing advice and
guidance as appropriate.
- Completed works will be post-inspected by Property Services Officers.
To report a suspected condensation/damp mould issue, you can complete this form,
email: email@example.com, or call 0800 035 0003. This phone line is
available 24 hours, seven days a week. All faults can be reported between 8am – 5pm. Out
of hours emergency repairs can only be reported between 5pm – 8am. For gas repair, please
press option two and you will be passed onto TSG Building Services.
We recognise the concerns people will have with their heating bills due to the rising cost of
living, including keeping their homes warm to help prevent condensation from building up.
Below is some additional support that may be helpful.
- Hackney energy advice line – for specialist advice call 0800 281 768 (Mon-Fri 9 am
to 5 pm) or you can also use the London Fuel Switch energy switch calculator on
- The London Energy Saving Squad Ltd (LESS) – provide advice and information on damp, mould and condensation; ventilation; heating controls; and bill switching as well as energy saving top tips. Call their free line on 0800 915 3575.
- London SHINE – set up to help residents keep well and warm throughout the year
and avoid cold-related conditions during winter and anxiety over paying the fuel bills. Contact their advice line on 0800 281 768. For more information see
- Priority Services Registers – vulnerable residents can sign up to these with their
energy company to ensure they get priority help and support if there is an issue with
their supply. More information can be found on the Office of Gas and Electricity
Markets (OFGEM) website:
- The Green Doctors (City of London Residents) – The Green Doctors, run by
Groundwork London, deliver energy advice for free to residents in the City of London (and on City Corporation estates). They can help you by chatting to you about energy tarriffs, getting you onto the Priority Services Register so that your energy provider.