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.

Vulnerable groups

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.

Treating mould

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.

Preventing condensation

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
    air circulate.

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 privatesectorhousing@hackney.gov.uk 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: propertyservices@cityoflondon.gov.uk, 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.

Additional Resources

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.