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Mouldy Britain: The UK’s Cities With The Biggest Rise In Damp And Mould

15 April 2024
Eurocell door on an older house Eurocell door on an older house

 

Mould can be a persistent problem in many areas of the UK, thanks to our island being prone to seemingly endless damp weather conditions. With Britain only appearing to get wetter as the climate crisis takes hold, the risk of damp and mould in our homes is only becoming more likely, so it’s important to tackle the problem head-on. 

With this in mind, Eurocell set out to discover the UK’s mouldiest towns and cities. We issued Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to the top 100 city councils by population, asking how many mould complaints they’d received over the last four years across both private and social housing. From the councils that responded, Eurocell took these figures and worked out the increase/decrease in complaints between 2022 and 2023. 

What are the main causes of mould? 

Excess moisture is the main cause of damp and mould, and it can come from a variety of sources. Rising damp, leaking pipes or roofing, poor ventilation and condensation are some of the main causes of mould, which often appears first in humid areas of the home, such as bathrooms, kitchens and loft space. 

The health repercussions of mould are serious, and the root causes of it can also cause cosmetic and structural damage to your home. 

Which UK councils receive the most mould complaints? 

 

Council

2022 Complaints

2023 Complaints Difference
City of Edinburg Council 267 593 +326
Croydon Council 346 578 +232
Southwark Council 263 379 +116
London Borough of Barking and Dagenham 65 173 +103
Plymouth City Council 346 450 +104
Norwich City Council 31 103 +72
Maidstone Borough Council 68 135 +67

London Borough of Harrow 

Private rented-sector properties

44 109 +65
Swindon Borough Council 53 110 +57
Islington Council 82 133 +51
London Borough of Lewisham 21 70 +49
Wigan Council 70 119 +49
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council 43 90 +47
Warrington Borough Council 45 87 +42
Peterborough City Council 100 134 +34
Watford Borough Council 61 94 +33
Tower Hamlets 212 242 +30
Solihull Council 29 56 +27
Hastings Borough Council 58 78 +20
City of Cardiff Council 34 53 +19
Middlesborough Council 143 155 +12
City of London 5 16 +11
St Albans Council 21 28 +7
Chelmsford City Council 21 16 -5
Portsmouth City Council 13 8 -5

Cheshire West and Chester Council Damp and mould hazard inspections

45 37 -8

Chesterfield Borough Council

55 46 -9

Bournemouth Council - Poole and Bournemouth

144 121 -23

Barnsley Council 

152 117 -35

Ipswich Borough Council

51 12 -39

City of Stoke-on-Trent

51 12 -39

Dundee City Council

606 411 -195

Liverpool City Council

373 70 -303

 

Edinburgh City Council saw the highest increase in mould complaints, with 326 more complaints in 2023 compared to 2022 - a 122% rise. It is noted that prior to 2023, mould complaints were logged differently in the system. 

Croydon in South London saw the second-highest rise in mould complaints, with 232 more complaints in 2023 than in 2022. In total, 578 residents complained to the council about mould in their homes. 

In terms of a percentage rise, Lewisham in South East London comes out on top. Receiving just 21 complaints in 2022, the council saw a sharp rise of 233% in 2023, with the number of complaints rising to 70. 

Liverpool City Council saw the biggest decrease in complaints, with 303 fewer complaints in 2023 than in 2022 - an 81% decrease. This is despite the city sitting on the West coast, known as one of the wettest parts of the UK. 

What is being done to tackle mould problems? 

The government set out a new directive in 2023 following the introduction of Awaab’s Law, which is intended to directly tackle damp and mould problems in social housing. Features include:

Mandatory action for landlords - social housing landlords are now to promptly investigate and rectify damp problems as soon as they’re reported. 
Increased powers for the Housing Ombudsman - The law gives more power to the Housing Ombudsman, allowing them to more effectively oversee compliance from landlords.
Inclusion in Tenancy Agreements: the new rules are embedded in tenancy contracts, empowering tenants to legally demand decent living conditions.

When you’ve spotted a mould issue and rent your property, it’s important to inform your landlord as soon as possible. The Housing Ombudsman have a great guide on how to best report issues to your landlord, and what their responsibilities are afterwards. 

 

Dealing with mould at home 

Tackling mould in the home can seem a daunting task, but it is possible to effectively cure your mould issues and prevent its recurrence. 

 

Prevention is always better than a cure, and one easy method of preventing mould in the first place is opening your trickle vents in the warmer months. This allows a continuous flow of air through the home, making it less likely that warm, humid air gets trapped, leading to potential mould growth. Some older windows don’t have trickle vents, but modern UPVC windows come with this feature built-in. In the case that your windows don’t have trickle vents, it should be possible to lock the windows in a slightly open position to allow for better ventilation. 

 

It is also important to open windows or use extractor fans when taking a bath or shower, or when cooking on the hob in the kitchen. Keeping lids on pans can massively reduce the volume of humid air in your home, meaning less condensation and chance of mould growth. 

 

If you do spot mould in your home, you can try to tackle it yourself with a biocide mould cleaner. A few sprays and a wipe should remove the mould, and a couple of coats of paint should stop the mould from regrowing in the same place. 

 

Helen Godsiff, Brand Manager at Eurocell, said: “Mould is a massive problem across the whole of the UK, both for homeowners and those living in social housing. From a structural perspective, mould can slowly eat away at the materials it resides on, which can lead to costly repairs and even whole replacements of key structural components, such as roof timbers. 

 

“A combination of a damp climate and ageing infrastructure create the perfect environment for mould growth, but mould can also take over newer buildings and homes too, especially if there is poor ventilation and moisture control. 

 

“Modern homes are designed to be more air-tight than older homes, helping to reduce heating bills in winter, but this also means that there is a general lack of ventilation. 

 

“It’s important to use ventilation when doing an activity that can create moisture, such as in the shower, or when cooking in the kitchen. Anywhere where there is a regular buildup of visible condensation can lead to mould. 

 

“It’s also worth sticking your head up through your loft hatch every now and again, as poorly ventilated loft spaces can allow mould to breed on roof timbers and across the ceiling.”

 

ABOUT EUROCELL


Eurocell creates sustainable building solutions for the trade of today, the homes of tomorrow

and the environment of the future.


With its headquarters in Alfreton, Derbyshire, Eurocell is at the forefront of the UK's PVC-U industry, leading the way in the manufacture, distribution, and recycling of PVC-U windows, doors, conservatories, rooflights, roofing and roofline systems


Alongside these, the home improvement specialist offers the widest range of products for home renovations and new build projects under a single brand with more than 10,000 products including garden rooms, extensions, decking, fencing and more. 


It operates a network of more than 200 trade branches across the UK, where it serves over 40,000 tradespeople. Eurocell distributes its products through a vast network of window fabricators, housebuilder partners and specifiers, as well as to installers and direct to homeowners. 


Eurocell’s commitment to providing quality sustainable solutions sets it apart, with the largest PVC-U recycling operation in the UK. It operates a closed-loop recycling system, collecting, reprocessing, and utilising waste to create new products. In 2022 alone, Eurocell incorporated 16,700 tonnes of recycled PVC-U in its operations, with windows containing approximately 30% recycled content.


Eurocell celebrates 50 years of supporting home improvement projects in 2024 and employs more than 2000 people in the UK. For more details, visit www.eurocell.co.uk, or follow their social media channels - Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest


Eurocell is listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange.

 

Methodology

 

To create this data, Eurocell issued Freedom of Information requests to the top 100 UK councils by population, asking “How many complaints about mould did your local authority receive in each year of 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023?”


Councils across the UK record their damp and mould complaints differently. Some only collect data on social housing whereas other councils collect data on private housing too. Some UK councils also don’t record complaints as ‘mould’ or ‘damp’, meaning they were unable to respond to FOI requests. 


Data correct as of March 2024. 

 

 

 

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