Damp or condensation?

One of the main complaints we receive from tenants is that mould has developed.

When dealing with damp and mould, it’s important to be able to tell the difference between damp caused by condensation.

People’s first reaction is always to blame the build of the property, but, in fact, most mould is caused by 1 of 2 factors:

  • the weather

  • the occupants’ living conditions

Damp vs. condensation

We find that once tenants have a greater awareness of what causes mould within properties, then far fewer issues occur. It's also important to know how to differentiate between damp and condensation mould. Trust us, it’s definitely worth educating yourself before it becomes an issue that could affect your wellbeing. The following guidance will help you to identify the different types of damp, explain which ones we as an agency can do something about and which would be your own responsibility to manage.


People sometimes talk about damp and condensation as if they’re different things, but in fact condensation is a type of damp - the most common actually! It’s caused by a combination of moisture in the air and poor ventilation. If treated properly, condensation can be remedied without it causing lasting damage.

The first sign of condensation is usually moisture drops on walls, mirrors, and windows. If caught early, it can be easily treated at home using a cloth dipped in soapy water or with an antibacterial spray. Remember to dry the area once you’ve cleaned mould. You could also invest in a dehumidifier.

Rising damp

Rising damp may look like condensation at times, but it has a very different cause. As its name suggests, rising damp starts at ground level and rises upwards - you won’t find rising damp more than a metre from the ground. You may see dark mould patches, but there are a few distinguishing features to look out for - such as peeling paint or wallpaper, damage to skirting boards or loose flooring.

If you think you have rising damp in your property, contact your Property Supervisor.

Penetrating damp

Penetrating damp is caused by water leaking into your property from outside. The most common causes are leaking pipes, aging brickwork and poor guttering. Signs of penetrating damp include dark patches that won’t go away and often grow or darken when its wet outside. From the outside, signs of leaks or cracks in your guttering or roof tiles may point to an issue. If you believe your property has any of these issues, then it's important to get in contact with maintenance at the earliest convenience.

If you spot anything, be sure to report your issue through PropertyFile.