Advice on damp proofing a house before renting it out

(21 Posts)
AmericanPastoral Thu 10-Mar-16 12:16:04

My mum has moved into a care home and we are trying to get it ready to rent it out. It hasn't had much maintenance done since my dad died over 20 years ago. The house has been unoccupied for a while so lack of ventilation has obviously not helped. We've had 5 companies quote wrt damp proofing and the quotes range from £700 to £7,000. We really just want to spend the least necessary to get money in as soon as we can to help pay for care home fees and were thinking of spending £10k on the house in total - quote for repairs to the roof are about £2.5k, redecoration about £2k, new kitchen £2-3k, put shower in bathroom £1k. There's an obvious problem with rising damp in the kitchen and the damp proof quotes are recommending a damp proof course for the front room as well even though there's not an obvious, visible problem. A surveyor friend of mine said maybe just concentrate on the kitchen area or maybe even consider just trying to repair the wall affected in the kitchen - maybe just plaster over that and see how it goes. Does this seem reasonable? Obviously a damp proof course will need to be applied, wait to dry etc which will all take more time. I've attached a couple of pictures of the wall in the kitchen. Thanks very much.

wowfudge Thu 10-Mar-16 12:28:32

Do a search on here - rising damp is rare and the damp proofing companies will or course tell you it needs a damp proof course.

Far more common that the gutters need clearing, the pointing needs attention and if a path or border has breached the damp proof course, it needs digging out. A lot of 'damp' issues are down to condensation and poor ventilation. Can you post photos of the kitchen wall from outside?

CheeseBadger Thu 10-Mar-16 12:48:18

^ That. The damp where the ceiling meets the walls is clearly not rising damp, - it'll be penetrating damp. The gutters need clearing out, and check for plumbing leaks above. If there's serious efflourescence on the plaster once it's dried out, it may be worth hacking it out and replastering or it will continue to attract moisture from the air. Check ground levels as Wow said, and it should be fine.

wowfudge Thu 10-Mar-16 12:59:17

There is also the possibility that the damp kitchen wall is caused by an old leaking pipe in the wall or the floor - could be something that was capped off years ago. Other than if re-pointing is necessary, none of the other potential causes of damp ingress should cost you anywhere near what the damp proof sharks are quoting. There could also be loose lead flashing around a chimney stack, etc.

You need a reliable odd job man with a ladder to start with.

CrazyMary Thu 10-Mar-16 13:17:34

The cheapest quote isn't always the same or going to save you money. If it is cheaper because they are cutting corners, it will cost you more in the long run.
It is very important in old houses, to have vents put in the wall before they dry line. If they put damp proof course in, the dampness must go somewhere.
Make sure you get a qualified and experienced Company.
Check previous jobs/references/customer satisfaction/check reviews online and ask around/ask friends and neighbours for recommendations.
Hold back part payment until all work is completed and to your satisfaction.
Get a receipt for any money paid. Don't rush in to hiring someone without being thoroughly happy.
Check that they have their own insurance and are Tax compliant.

AmericanPastoral Thu 10-Mar-16 13:21:49

Thanks very much for all your replies. I'll be able to post pictures from the outside later.

specialsubject Thu 10-Mar-16 13:33:41

also just to check you've done all the sums regarding rental costs, and are aware of your obligations: gas safe, deposit protection, right to rent, fixes, insurance, legal insurance, malicious damage insurance, inventory, emergency cover etc etc.

AmericanPastoral Thu 10-Mar-16 13:46:09

Thanks very much special. We are compiling a list of costs which seems to be getting longer by the minute. We hope we can get it rented out before we have to sell it.

specialsubject Thu 10-Mar-16 16:05:07

there's also the indefinable cost - hassle.

perhaps an easy rough answer would be to ask a local agent what it would rent for when fixed, as you can't rent it in that state. That is your starting point before all the deductions.

if it hasn't had much done in 20 years then you are looking at worn-out bathroom fittings, tired kitchen, tatty carpets etc etc. Is it really worth the effort? Consider a sale.

wowfudge Thu 10-Mar-16 16:53:29

I will add that the aggro of doing a place up to a more modern standard isn't necessarily going to be commensurate to any increase in value either. A lot of buyers would rather buy a house in it's unrefurbished state and do it up to their own tastes.

AmericanPastoral Thu 10-Mar-16 22:36:01

I'm attaching a few photos of the outside of the house.

special and wow - it's definitely going to be an uphill struggle but it just seems to make sense to try and rent it out and hold onto the property as long as we can, if we can.

wowfudge Thu 10-Mar-16 23:37:15

Is that corner of the house very exposed? Some of the brickwork looks very worn and possibly cracked - difficult to tell from photos.

CheeseBadger Fri 11-Mar-16 13:59:23

I'd say that render at the base of the external walls needs to come off. It's probably made of cement, and it's stopping moisture diffusing out of the wall at the base. This is the cause of the low level damp. Still suspect gutters or leaky plumbing for the stuff near the ceiling.

AmericanPastoral Mon 14-Mar-16 09:26:58

Thanks wow and Cheese.
wow - when you say "very exposed" what do you mean? It's at the back of the house.

Luc28 Mon 14-Mar-16 09:37:28

The quotes seem to differ massively... I'd ask for recommendation of a damp and timer specialist from your local letting agent And see what they say.

Personally I would always address any damp issues first along with any structural issues(roofing etc) then worry about cosmetics. If you spend nothing on the damp issues and 2k on a kitchen then 12months down the line needs urgent work then it's new kitchen time again!
With all my rentals I start with the basics it saves so much £ in the long run

AmericanPastoral Mon 14-Mar-16 09:47:59

Thanks very much Luc.

wowfudge Mon 14-Mar-16 12:24:55

Very exposed = subject to prevailing winds passing between neighbouring properties with nothing to stop it getting full force against the brickwork from wind and rain.

The algae on that corner suggests the brickwork is frequently wet.

I agree with Cheese about the render btw - there should be a six inch gap between the starting point of render on an external wall and ground level.

wowfudge Mon 14-Mar-16 12:34:23

Could you possibly attach photos showing what the guttering and roof look like at the top of that back wall?

CrazyMary Sat 19-Mar-16 12:27:32

I've seen on renovation programmes, the people usually hire a quantity surveyor and project manager to manage costs and get the job finished on time, it could be worth looking into doing that.

VodkaValiumLattePlease Sat 19-Mar-16 12:34:48

My land lord did the same and tried to do it on the cheap, it's really fun to live with....

JonathanRolande Mon 21-Mar-16 16:26:42

Hard to say but one pic show damp in a ceiling, that can’t be rising damp, could be a gutter or bad insulation ie wet? Does it have a cavity? Cavitech-UK give free quotes to sort this kind of thing.

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