My apartment is at the ground floor of a 4-floor building. Between the walls of the building and the ground, there is empty space:

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It is sufficiently wide to insert a palm, and from the outside, it seems quite deep.

enter image description here

I did not think that it is problematic, but in the last winter, there was humidity and mould on the inner walls near the floor, and I thought that maybe the cause is that rain-water go below the building, and then sift up into the walls.

What can I about this?

  • If you get a cheap USB inspection camera at least you can see under the building to see how bad it is. – cybernard Dec 5 '19 at 17:40
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    run a fan, blowing on the wall, inside your apt to help prevent mold. other than that, you're likely not supposed to fix the building for your landlord, that's his/her problem. – dandavis Dec 5 '19 at 18:12
  • @dandavis I am the landlord... – Erel Segal-Halevi Dec 6 '19 at 12:53

That's not the wall, exactly, but the stucco finish on the wall. I think I see the brick or block sub-structure behind it.

If that's the case, the stucco is not supposed to go into the ground. It's an above-grade finish, like most siding would be. Drainage away from the building is handled by proper grading (slope, surface material) and rain gutters, among other things.

Since this is apparently a rental, and since filling that gap probably won't solve the issue, you need to bring it up to the property owner. If they won't address the problem, investigate your legal recourse or consider finding alternative habitation.

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    And it looks like it's been patched before. – JACK Dec 5 '19 at 21:32
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    I am the property owner... this is why I ask. – Erel Segal-Halevi Dec 6 '19 at 4:22

Both pictures look like they're of the exterior. The wall looks like it's brick or block construction (I'm not sure which) covered with stucco. My concern is the amount of dirt that appears under the wall, covered by exterior carpet. If this wall is simply resting on the ground, not on a foundation, there would be a high likelihood of water coming in underneath from snow melt, not to mention structural issues.

As @Isherwood mentioned, first make sure the ground is graded down and away from the building for at least 6-10 ft (2-3 m), more if possible. Also make sure the downspouts discharge several feet (a meter or two) away from the building. Check the gutters for any leaks and repair if needed.

Also look around the base of the wall for gaps in the masonry, clean away any dirt, and repair them with hydraulic cement or an epoxy made for foundation repair.

If grading around the foundation and fixing gaps doesn't fix the issue you may have to dig down 4-6 ft (1.5-2 m) around the structure and install a French drain to carry water away. That's a much larger project than can I can explain here.

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