I moved into a studio flat which I rent from the council in February, and since then I have had no end of problems, rodents, damp, mould, leaks etc.
I first got in touch with the council in March, and it is only now when I said I would take my compaints higher that a techinical officer is coming next week to view the property.
I have asked for a transfer to another property as the level of damp/mould is so extreme, and this is just after a few months. My clothes smell of damp and some are covered in mould, that I have had to put them in carrier bags to dry and keep out some of the smell, but it's not working.
I ventilate my flat, and never dry clothes inside, but am sure that the techinical officer will say there is nothing they can do, and just to clean the mould and ventilate the flat.
I also don't have enough electrical sockets(2 in studio room, and 2 in kitchen), but according to the council to fit anymore would be an improvement, not a repair
If I didn't like what the techinical officer has to say, could I take my concerns to the environmental health department?
You can also get in touch with your local councillor. You can find out who that is ( a number of wards cover different parts of SE1) by putting your postcode into this search - http://moderngov.southwarksites.com/mgFindCouncillor.aspx . Our individual pages give the times of our contact details and the times of our surgeries.
If it's a ground-floor flat it could be rising damp, caused by the break down of the damp-proof course, or by it being breached by items stored against the external wall/s. Risng damp only reaches one metre in height, so if the damp is higher up it could be penetrating damp caused by external leaks to roof and/or guttering saturating the external walls, or vegetation growing against external walls. In either case, poor ventilation and/or poor circulationon of air will exacerbate the problem. The resultant mould spores are a health risk and the landlord should rectify it ASAP. The tips Mapmaker gave above are useful ones and will help. A dehumidifier will also help in the short term, but it would only be treating the symptom, not the cause. One thing for sure, it will get worse in winter, so get fixed sooner rather than later.
Have you asked your neighbours if they are having the same problem? If so it might be a clue as to the cause.
The only 'proof' I have is what I've been told by various surveyors and damp specialists/contractors over the years when I've bought old properties.
I prefer older properties with some degree of character, but along with them often come problems. Damp in its various forms being one of them.