Damp and mould

Damp and mould

There are four main types of damp that could affect homes:

  1. Condensation
  2. Rising damp
  3. Penetrating damp
  4. Defective plumbing



Condensation is the most common form of damp and is the main cause of black mould.

To reduce condensation in your home you can do the following:

  • dry clothes outside where possible.
  • if you can’t, dry them on a clothes airer rather than a radiator, in a room where you can close the door and open a window.
  • if you have a tumble drier, vent it to the outside and never into the home.
  • cover pans when cooking and do not leave kettles boiling.
  • do not use paraffin or gas bottle heaters.
  • wipe down windows and windowsills every morning, especially in bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens.
  • you can also catch condensation dripping from windows with condensation channels and sponge strips which are available to purchase from DIY shops. 
  • ventilate all rooms by opening windows, even if only slightly, and making sure any trickle vents are left open.
  • always ventilate or open a window when using the kitchen or bathroom and close the doors to prevent moisture in the air from spreading to other parts of the home.
  • avoid overfilling cupboards and wardrobes as this prevents air circulation, and make sure there is space between them and the wall.
  • open bedroom windows for up to one hour as soon as you get up and pull back the sheets or duvets to air the bed and bedding.
  • clear windowsills of clutter that will restrict opening the window or prevent surfaces from being wiped.
  • heat all rooms in the house even if only at a low temperature.

We recommend that you regularly check for mould growth paying particular attention to under divan bed drawers and behind wardrobes, bedside cabinets, bedheads and clothing stored in cupboards.

If you have black mould, you can do the following:

  • don’t disturb mould by brushing or vacuum cleaning as it may release mould spores which can increase the risk of respiratory problems.
  • carefully remove excess mould with a spray containing bleach, using a damp cloth. This will help remove the staining that persistent mould can leave behind. Make sure you throw the cloth away afterwards.
  • leave the surface to dry overnight and then spray the affected area with an anti-fungal wash and allow that to dry. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wear a face mask when spraying.
  • after treatment, redecorate using a fungicidal paint – do not paint over with an ordinary paint as mould is likely to grow back.
  • dry-clean affected clothes, and shampoo carpets where necessary.


Rising damp

Rising damp is generally caused by water from the ground rising into the home – usually after a failure of the damp proof course. It does not usually cause black mould because of salts in the ground that are poisonous to mould.

If you have rising damp you need to contact your landlord to raise the necessary repairs to the damp proof course.


Penetrating damp

Penetrating damp is usually caused by water penetrating through external walls, or through roofs, damaging walls and or ceilings inside the home. This doesn’t usually cause black mould because the affected area is too wet and the damp will contain salts picked up when passing through the wall, which prevent the growth of black mould. External repairs will be needed to fix this.

If you have penetrating damp you need to:

Contact your landlord to raise the repair to prevent water penetrating your property


Defective plumbing

Defective plumbing such as leaky pipes rarely leads to black mould because the area is usually too wet and the chemicals in a waste-water leak will be poisonous to mould.

If you have defective plumbing you need to contact your landlord to raise the plumbing repairs needed to resolve the problem.


Report damp

Council tenants

If you are a Chesterfield Borough Council housing tenant you can report damp:


Private tenants

If you are a private tenant, please contact your landlord to resolve. If this does not resolve the issue satisfactorily, then please get in touch with our private sector housing team who can look into the issue on your behalf. Just call 01236 345 345 and ask for our private sector housing team.


You can download the damp and mould advice below to share with your tenants.

If our documents are not accessible to you, you can request a different format here.
Damp and mould information PDF (PDF 1.36 MB)

Last updated on 24 April 2023