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Everyone knows that if they have a large hole in their roof, or leave their windows open during a thunderstorm, they will end up with soggy carpets. But they are far less familiar with some of the other causes of damp – and, just as importantly, how to combat them. This at-a-glance guide should put homeowners on the right track to a dry home.

1. Tackle rising damp at its source. Rising damp used to be a subject of comedy. It provided the title for one of Britain’s best-loved sitcoms. But actual rising damp can hit homeowners hard in the wallet and adversely affect their health. Rising damp, as the name suggests, is caused by groundwater finding its way into a home through stonework or brickwork. It can be combated through a modern, properly maintained, damp-proof course.

2. Keep an eye out for ‘tide marks’ on the walls. If your damp-proof course is defective, one of the first ways in which this will manifest itself is in ‘tide marks’ at the bottom of walls. You need to pinpoint the source of the problem, have the necessary building works done and, in serious cases, use a dehumidifier to dry out the room affected.

3. Maintain the fabric of the exterior of your property. Always remember that water can get into a property through its walls as well as through its roof and floors. Poor pointing or damaged masonry is often a harbinger of damp problems further down the line, so look out for potential weak spots.

4. Check that your guttering is in order. If your guttering is defective and rainwater streams down the side of the building, it will only be a matter of time before the water finds its way into your home. So check your guttering regularly and, if there are blocked drainpipes or other problems, deal with them sooner rather than later.

5. Watch out for black mould. Another warning sign to householders that they have a damp problem is black mould forming on either external or internal walls. The mould is not just unsightly, but potentially hazardous, because it attracts mites and, in extreme cases, could cause respiratory problems. You can get simple mould eradication kits online to combat the problem.

6. Remember that damp has internal as well as external causes. If you are boiling a kettle or having a shower and the windows mist over, it is a tell-tale sign of condensation. It is one of the most common forms of damp in the home, and its harmful consequences are often overlooked. You need to be on your guard to stop excess condensation from doing lasting damage.

7. Consider installing ventilation aids. When there is moisture in the air inside a property, the best way to stop it lingering is through ventilation. “Make sure you air rooms well, even in winter,” advises James Carter of Knight Frank. Opening windows will often do the trick, but in kitchens and bathrooms, where the problem is usually most acute, ventilation fans can help speed up the process.

8. Dry your washing outdoors whenever possible. This one is just common sense. Keeping damp clothes on a clothes-horse in the spare bedroom is only going to exacerbate the problem of condensation. Try to dry the clothes outside if possible, even in winter. Alternatively, dry them in a room that is well ventilated.

9. Temperature control is critical. Condensation is at its worst in cold weather, so it is worth keeping your home reasonably warm, even if nobody is at home, otherwise you may pay the price later. Thermostat-controlled heating systems are the optimum way to achieve this.

10. Check out grants for tackling damp related problems. Local authority grants are sometimes available for works to protect properties against damp. The website www.nihe.gov.uk gives a good overview.

If you remain vigilant and think proactively you will save yourself the stresses and strains – not to mention the financial costs – of unwanted damp in the home.

New property listing prices have remained in line with the typical run-up to the summer holiday season despite Brexit concerns, Rightmove’s July house price index has revealed.

The portal claims the price of new property coming to market fell 0.9%, or £2,647, over the past four weeks to £307,824.

That covers the two weeks pre- and post- the EU referendum and is in line with usual activity over the summer, suggesting the predictions of a doomed property market are yet to emerge.

House prices are up annually at 4.5%, slightly slower than the 5.5% growth recorded last year.

Asking prices for first-time buyers fell 0.2% in July to £189,183 but second steppers and those on the top of the ladder saw bigger drops at 1.2% and 1.1% respectively

In the last two weeks post-referendum, compared to 2015, enquiries to agents from buyers were down by 16%.

However, Rightmove says last year’s figures were boosted by pent-up demand after the general election result, which saw a 25% uplift in buyer enquiries in June and July compared with the same two-month period in 2014.

The portal says a fairer comparison would be with 2014 when the demand levels were the same as now.

Sellers also seem undeterred by the referendum result.

Compared with the same period last year, the two weeks pre-referendum saw the number of new properties coming to market down by 8%, and the two weeks post-referendum saw them up by 6%.

Miles Shipside, director and housing market analyst for Rightmove, said: “As far as the price of property coming to market is concerned, the fall of 0.9% is within the range that we have seen at this time of year since 2010.

“With the onset of the summer holiday season, new sellers typically price more conservatively and the average drop in the month of July is 0.4% over the last six years.

“Perhaps unsurprisingly this July’s fall is marginally larger, as political turbulence has a track record of unsettling sentiment. Indeed last year saw a seasonally unusual 0.1% fall in the run-up to the May election, and a June and July price surge as a result of the post-election boost. Average new seller asking prices were up by 3.1% over that two-month period.”

Rise in stamp duty will push up rents

The new buy-to-let stamp duty reforms will push up rent costs and trigger a decline in the supply of available properties, a new survey has revealed. According to the Association of Residential Letting Agents, over half (52%) of letting agents reported an increase in buyers looking to invest in buy-to-let property before the stamp duty deadline in February, up 47% from the previous month. However, nearly two-thirds (63%) predict supply will fall as landlords are pushed out of the market. Almost six in 10 (57%) ARLA members agree rents will be pushed up.
 

 

'We know Christmas cards are lovely
We know that they raise a smile
But with your support and understanding
We'd like to
give the money to a cause worthwhile'

 

 

Thank you so much Charterhouse4homes for the generous donation to James Hopkins Trust in lieu of Christmas cards. We rely heavily on the support of our local community and businesses to ensure we are able to provide free nursing respite to young children in Gloucestershire who are severely disabled or life limited. To be remembered at this busy time of year is truly heart-warming and appreciated.

 

 

 

Best wishes

 

Sarah James

 

Head of Fundraising

 

 

The Property Ombudsman Trading Standards Deposit Protection Scheme Rightmove OnTheMarket