Almost 1,500 damp complaints to Dublin council last year

In 97% of cases the problem was due to condensation caused by tenants, says council

Almost 1,500 complaints of damp and mould were made to Dublin City Council in the past year by tenants of its flats and houses.

In almost all cases – 97 per cent – the council said the problem was due to condensation which was “solely the responsibility of the tenant” and not leaks or structural problems with the building.

The council received 1,491 “repair requests” from tenants relating to excessive damp and mould growth in their homes. In general, when a complaint is received from a tenant, the council will inspect the property to determine if there is a leak, or flooding.

However, it said that “97 per cent of maintenance requests to Dublin City Council which refer to ‘dampness’ are eventually identified as being due to condensation”. Once it has determined that condensation is the problem, the council’s inspector will check whether vents are installed and operating properly and have not been covered over. If there are no vents, or an extra vent is deemed necessary, the inspector will offer the tenant the option of the installation of a vent.



However, the council said: “It is the city council’s policy not to intervene in cases of condensation – in fact . . . damage to a property as a result of condensation (such as mould growth) is solely to responsibility of the tenant.”

Tenants are offered advice on how to deal with the problem. They should use an extractor fan when cooking, keep the kitchen door closed, open windows after a shower or a bath, ventilate the flat by opening windows for a short period in the morning, especially on dry windy days, not block the ventilators, and, spray the affected areas with a propriety mould remover or a diluted bleach product.

“The generation of water vapour which leads to condensation and in some cases mould growth is not due to the way the building is constructed but to the way the building is used,” the council said.

People Before Profit Alliance councillor Bríd Smith said this "bog standard answer" was not acceptable, given the extent of mould damage in some flat complexes.

“The response from the council is always that there’s nothing wrong with the flats, it’s the way the tenants are living. But I know women who are bleaching their walls every day, and following the council’s instructions exactly, and every time the black mould returns.”


Construction engineers, not employed by the council, had suggested the materials used in many of the flats had reached the end of their useful lifespan and no longer allowed buildings to “breathe”, Ms Smith said. “I would like the council to investigate this possibility instead of trotting out the same bog standard answer that it’s the tenant’s fault.”

Dublin City Council has been cited in a complaint against the State by the International Federation for Human Rights to the Council of Europe, in relation to sub-standard living conditions of local authority tenants. Mould and damp in flats is central to the complaint.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times